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Subject: Reaction and questions after first available review/rules overview rss

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Kromherjan
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Hi there,
the stuff I'm talking about is mostly from this video. It contains more information about the game, that anything else, we currently have. So if you have no idea, what I'm talking about, watch it

TM is my favorite game by far and after watching the review/rules overview I'm practically already convinced, that I'll buy Gaia Project. There are some interesting things, that warrant talking about and I also have some specific questions. So this is a call to all playtesters to give us some of that juice information devil as well as to everyone to discuss and maybe ask their own questions.

1. The video mentions 9 basic technologies are put in random slots as part of setup. Are there exactly 9, or are those pulled from a bigger selection? How many of the same one are there/how many players can get the same one?

2. I mainly ask about research tiles because my biggest gripe with TM is the power of the earth2 favor and the resulting go-to turn 1 for the first 3 players (overgeneralized, I know). Do you feel, that even if there ends up being a huge discrepancy in the power level of research tiles, that the random setup and them being bound to certain research tracks somewhat alleviates this concern?

3. More or less the same question as 1. but about advanced research: There's obviously only 1 of every adv. research, but how many different ones are there?

4. Is there a mechanical reason for the green cubes being actual currency instead of being a marker on the existing currency track?

5. Are the black-green-gradient fields left of the final scoring tiles used to track players advancements in these categories during the game? If not, what are they?

6. Not a question, but simply a talking point: I really like the new research board, the 'conversion' of priests to the new knowledge/research currency seems perfect and the downscaling to just 5 spaces per track seems cool.


I assume you guys (playtesters) are still under some sort of NDA so some of my questions, that are slightly beyond the scope of the video might be left unanswered soblue but you can't fault a guy for asking
EDIT: nevermind bossman said, it's fine! laugh
Cheers!
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Kristof Bodric
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1. There are exactly 9 basic technologies and they get shuffled around the 9 spaces on the Development Board. There are as many of each as the number of players, so everyone can get one, though you cannot get the same tech tile twice.

2. Yes, especially since only 1 gives you points, but only when colonising Gaia Planets, which is not so easy as you normally need quickies (QICs) to do so and quickies are a scarce resource. I think the Standard Tech Tiles are well-balanced and the random setup improves replayability and requires players to adapt.

3. There's a bunch, I don't know how many exactly, but the devs might not keep all of them so I don't think there's any point in counting them now. Suffice it to say, you choose 6 from a large selection of adv. techs.

4. Don't know. That's one for the devs. Probably because the resource is scarce so you don't need a pile of 20 of them per player, unlike credits.

5. Yes

6. I agree. The research areas are awesome.
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Frank Heeren
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Kromherjan wrote:

I assume you guys (playtesters) are still under some sort of NDA so some of my questions, that are slightly beyond the scope of the video might be left unanswered soblue but you can't fault a guy for asking
Cheers!


Before anyone is starting to spread rumours again: I hereby invite all playtesters from the multiplayer test or the German test forum to share their experience and opinion!
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Kromherjan
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nan3000 wrote:
I hereby invite all playtesters from the multiplayer test or the German test forum to share their experience and opinion!


Awesome! thumbsup

vidra wrote:
...


Wow, thanks! I didn't expect to get information so fast/easily laugh



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Jan Kahánek
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Can I pre-order this game?
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Robert
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Regarding 1. + 2. (basic technologies): I felt that they are balanced, so not every player will always jump for the same basic technology at the start. You have to evaluate the combo between basic technology and which research path you can improve, and how it fits your strategy and the abilities of your faction.

E.g. a technology giving you coins once per round is attractive for most players, but more so for a faction which can use coins for some special stuff.

Given that certain research tracks are particularly interesting for certain factions (and/or in certain round scoring settings), the random assignment of these technologies to the research tracks will likely influence the faction pick and the strategy.

To continue the example: the coin-loving faction probably wants to improve their industry research level (which gives extra income including coins), so if the coin technology is assigned to this track (or to none), this faction becomes particularly attractive. If however the coin technology is assigned to some research path which the player doesn't want to pursue, the coin-loving faction looks less attractive.
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Kromherjan
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vidra wrote:
I think the Standard Tech Tiles are well-balanced and the random setup improves replayability and requires players to adapt.


DocCool wrote:
You have to evaluate the combo between basic technology and which research path you can improve, and how it fits your strategy and the abilities of your faction.


That's what I wanna hear. Consider me properly hyped.

----------------------------

How do you guys feel about the transdimensional planets? I don't wanna sound negative but they seem, for lack of a better word, tacked on. There's from what I see a whole research track plus the gaia former unit (or building?) dedicated to that single mechanic. But the only interface between said mechanic and the core game is the fact, that it becomes another type of planet, that can also be colonized another way, as well as the additional mana bowl-thing. Also it counts as a whole other game phase to change the planet type the round after. I'm kinda rambling here... I guess what I'm trying to say, that of all the additional (to TM) mechanics this is the only one, that seems to detract from the 'simple elegance' that was an integral part of TM. It feels like the only mechanic you could just take out of the game without destroying the core game.

Disclaimer: All I know about the game is from the video and some forum posts. I do not claim, that the above is fact. It's simply a feeling I got, when seeing the machanic. That's why I wanna hear other opinions.
 
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Robert
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Transdimensional planets offer an additional path. I've played games where nobody ever researched Gaia Projects, so all those transdim planets remained just that, and we still had a good and enjoyable game.

Obviously the concept of Gaia Projects can't be "tacked on" - after all the whole game is named after them. whistle
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Colin Marsh
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i didn't feel the transdim planets were tacked on. it's another option players can follow with some races being inherently better at it than others. one thing I noticed in the 4 player games i played was that planets are at a premium and will be heavily contested ( i would argue even more so than hexes in TM) most planets will get transformed and settled by someone so i suspect in most 4 player games someone will go for gaiaforming. in a 2 or 3 player game, that may not be the case but it depends on race selection.

during the playest I think there were 16 or 17 advanced techs. i believe at least one was removed but i'm not certain on that so suffice to say there will be a ton of variety in every setup. i'll also add that where the general techs land in terms of the research tracks will also influence game play. certain research areas make sense for some races and if those line up with a good tech for that race it will be a powerful combo. my group is hoping Gaia will have a race bidding variant which I think will add interest when there's a particular race that looks very well suited to a given research setup.

as for the elegance of TM vs. Gaia the only semi-critical thing i would say is that teaching TM: Gaia to non TM players is really daunting and was quite difficult. teaching TM was always hard but i think this takes it to a new level. on the flip side TM players will pick it up very fast.

i think the 2 player experience in Gaia is unquestionably better. the best proof i can offer here is that my wife played 2 player TM with me once. during the playtest she asked to play the game again several times.

the new research paths are more interesting than cults for sure. that's my favorite new addition. i also appreciate that one aspect was removed to reduce complexity - there are no longer any end of round bonuses between rounds. given all the additions we have in Gaia, something had to go to reduce complexity and this seemed a reasonable choice.
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HenningK
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I could echo a lot of what has already been said. The transdim planets are ignorable for some factions and very lucrative for others. I wouldn't call them tacked on as they offer more variety in gameplay and faction diversity, but there are games where they don't get used at all.

GP feels like an attempt to fix the common criticisms of TM:
- the opening is less scripted
- modular map
- research/cult track is better integrated
- more variety in setup, endgame scoring and faction differences
- 2 player game works much better (shrunken map, better endgame scoring)
- solo mode added

The theme probably makes more sense, too, though it is less appealing to me personally.
The downside is an even higher complexity. Some people apparently expected this to be a streamlined TM, and that is certainly not true. It is telling that GP only supports 4 players instead of TM's 5; the game would simply take too lomg with 5.

In terms of strategic depth, I suppose GP requires even more skill than TM. You can't memorize openings, and setup analysis is much more complex. Not only do you have to factor in round boni and vonus tiles, but also map layout and available technologies. I can see AP-prone people taking more than 5 minutes until they decide on a faction.
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Kromherjan
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DocCool wrote:
Obviously the concept of Gaia Projects can't be "tacked on" - after all the whole game is named after them. whistle

ohh snap, you got me

colinmarsh wrote:
planets are at a premium [...] most planets will get transformed and settled by someone so i suspect in most 4 player games someone will go for gaiaforming

well that's certainly good to hear.

colinmarsh wrote:
my group is hoping Gaia will have a race bidding variant which I think will add interest when there's a particular race that looks very well suited to a given research setup.

Well, since discovering it, I've not ever played without this glorious race auction system. This and 'playing in passing order' are the variants/house rules I can't live without and will probably also use in GP.

colinmarsh wrote:
as for the elegance of TM vs. Gaia the only semi-critical thing i would say is that teaching TM: Gaia to non TM players is really daunting and was quite difficult. teaching TM was always hard but i think this takes it to a new level. on the flip side TM players will pick it up very fast.

yeah teaching TM is already taking quite some time (not the best game teacher ). But it's really worth it! On the last board games weekend I hosted we played TM 4 times and one player was new. Worth every second of the time it took me to teach him!

colinmarsh wrote:
there are no longer any end of round bonuses between rounds.

Huhh... didn't even notice that, when watching the video... I guess that makes sense, though. Cult tracks didn't have any direct benefits (apart from some energy) so the system gave them some direction, but the research already is heavy on hard choices, so I'm inclined to agree with you, that taking out end of round bonuses is probably a good idea.

Trantor42 wrote:
research/cult track is better integrated

Everyone keeps bringing that up. I guess the complaint is sort of akin to my earlier sentiment about trans. planets being kind of their own thing. But I've never had a problem with cult tracks and wasn't even aware of the complaint until I started reading comparisons (TM vs. GP), so trans. planets are probably gonna be just fine

------------
I got some more:

The video went into great detail about the income on the player mat (under buildings) and the wording implied, that these income numbers are more even across all races as opposed to TM, where income/building prices were often very different. I also remember reading something like that in another thread, but can't find it again. Is that a thing? I always liked the little differences of one more energy here.... one less worker there.....


So from what I could make out in the video 2 of the shown races are starting with 1 step on the tech track and the third (swarm) doesn't. Now I'd imagine 1 step in a research is quite a bit stronger than the 2 steps in cult tracks, that most races got in TM. So how common is that? Or if you.... just wanna..... list all the races and what they do.... you know... I'd read that whistle

Btw, I'm fully aware, that some of those really specific questions don't mean anything without having played the game. Knowing what races do in a game, I can probably play in November at the earliest doesn't do anything.... but I like rules... I guess.... don't judge!

Sidenote: I'm not much of a theme-lover but 'The Swarm' starting with a giant hive is a really cool theme. Calling the race, with more colonies Xenos (stranger/foreigner) on the other hand, doesn't make sense to me.






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Bojan Brankov
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Kromherjan wrote:

The video went into great detail about the income on the player mat (under buildings) and the wording implied, that these income numbers are more even across all races as opposed to TM, where income/building prices were often very different. I also remember reading something like that in another thread, but can't find it again. Is that a thing? I always liked the little differences of one more energy here.... one less worker there.....



I played only 3 times and I can't quite recall all the races. But there are Red Birds faction (forgot the name) that have more income from trading posts than others (they even have inherit 3 credits income printed on the side). There is a race with more research income and they are Space Yetis. And there is a race called Mad Androids whose race sheet is completely messed up in the sense that upgrade order and the position of the buildings is completely different than other races (trading post directly to academies etc..).
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HenningK
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Kromherjan wrote:
The video went into great detail about the income on the player mat (under buildings) and the wording implied, that these income numbers are more even across all races as opposed to TM, where income/building prices were often very different. I also remember reading something like that in another thread, but can't find it again. Is that a thing? I always liked the little differences of one more energy here.... one less worker there.....


So from what I could make out in the video 2 of the shown races are starting with 1 step on the tech track and the third (swarm) doesn't. Now I'd imagine 1 step in a research is quite a bit stronger than the 2 steps in cult tracks, that most races got in TM. So how common is that? Or if you.... just wanna..... list all the races and what they do.... you know... I'd read that whistle


It's definitely true that the income is more standardized. Some factions have an additional income symbol, so they get free income even if they didn't build a trading post or temple (or whatever these buildings are called in GP ). At first, I was slightly disappointed by this, as I also liked the little differences in TM, but the factions feel rather different as it is.

Most factions start with one step on the research track, but some don't; I don't have any specifics right now. Those who don't start with a research step usually have powerful abilities or generate extra science to make up for it. I think every faction starts round 1 with enough science to do an additional step up a research track.

Some other observations: I felt like opening round 1 with a "temple" is even more common than in TM. You not only gain a favour tile, but also a research step, and these are generally a bit stronger than the 1-3 cult steps the favour tiles in TM give you. As compensation, temples are more expensive in GP (I think 3 workers and 6 coins compared to 2/5 in TM).

I also appreciate the "trading posts" giving more coin income than in TM (I think it's 3/4/4/5). This makes building them for future income much more viable than in TM.

Also, the handling of power is much more dynamic than in TM. You start with fewer power tokens so you cycle them faster, and I feel that the basic "favour tile" of 4 power income is one of the stronger ones (or I just love power too much ). You temporarily burn power tokens to transform transdim planets to Gaia planets, but you get those back in the next turn. Also, you have options of gaining new tokens. Power actions are as strong as ever, and several factions can do interesting Special things with power.
You also need to burn power to build "towns"; the further apart your buildings are, the more tokens you need to burn.

The "sanctuaries" are very expensive at 6 workers and 6 coins, and there are two of them. I haven't played a game yet where anybody built both, and often, players didn't build either.
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Robin Zigmond
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dukelander wrote:
And there is a race called Mad Androids whose race sheet is completely messed up in the sense that upgrade order and the position of the buildings is completely different than other races (trading post directly to academies etc..).


As a big and longtime TM fan who hasn't been involved in testing GP - but for whom it's top of my "must buy" list when it comes out - I think this sounds amazing. I guess you mean something a bit like a race than in TM could upgrade a dwelling directly to a temple - which is fairly bonkers, and exactly the kind of stuff I like different races to be able to do. I do wish there were more TM races that were "completely different" from the others, not just all the same with a different special ability - there are only really Engineers and Swarmlings. (Maybe Darklings too.) I shouldn't complain about the faction variety in TM because in reality there's loads of it - but I'm very pleased to hear that GP seems to have more
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Robert
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IIRC (and it wasn't changed since), the "Mad Androids" can update (in TM terms) a TP to SA (and of course to TE), and a TE to SH.

When it comes to more standardized costs for buildings: in TM there are three types of varying costs:
1) Engineers save 1w+1c per upgrade (and 1c per D)
2) Swarmlings pay an extra 1w+1c per D/TP/TE and 1w per SH/SA
3) SH and SA cost varies regarding workers (3 or 4) and coins (4/6/8/10)
So with two exceptions, factions in TM do have standardized costs for D/TP/TE.

(Caveat: I didn't participate in the latest balancing actions for GP, so this may be outdated information): last time I looked the cost for a given building/upgrade was the same in GP for every faction. The income from a given building is also standardized across many factions, but there are several faction which deviate.
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Trantor42 wrote:
The "sanctuaries" are very expensive at 6 workers and 6 coins, and there are two of them. I haven't played a game yet where anybody built both, and often, players didn't build either.

We had several games were one or even two player built all three big buildings.
Note that - other than standard Sanctuaries in TM - the Academies in Gaia grant improved income over a temple/laboratory. So they are comparable to the Darkling's or the Swarmlings Santuary (that already were very expensive in TM).

Trantor42 wrote:
I feel that the basic "favour tile" of 4 power income is one of the stronger ones (or I just love power too much ).
It's definitly a very strong tile if you manage to actually spent the power well. If not some of the income tiles might be stronger.
And one of course has to look at the slot of the board where the tile lies. As 6 out of 9 slots are directly connected to one tech, one has to choose a combination of tech tile and tech advance. A very useful tile might be a mediocre choice when it advances the wrong tech... Btw. that's one of the new aspects I really like.

robinz wrote:
I do wish there were more TM races that were "completely different" from the others, not just all the same with a different special ability - there are only really Engineers and Swarmlings. (Maybe Darklings too.) I shouldn't complain about the faction variety in TM because in reality there's loads of it - but I'm very pleased to hear that GP seems to have more
It's of course subjective which factions are "very diferent" (e.g. I'd also call TM Chaos Mages different), but I guess you'll surely find as many "very different" factions in Gaia as in TM, probably more.
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Kromherjan
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@ all playtesters chipping in: Good stuff, keep it coming laugh

Another question:
In my TM games from round 3 onward every spell usually gets taken by someone every round (except bridges ). Now in GP there's two more spells (not counting the qic actions, because they aren't direct competition). Do you feel, that this eases up competition for them? Because I really enjoy the outcries around the table, when someone passes first and takes the spell you desperately needed as his first action next turn cool

PS: I'm just realizing, that the need to race for spells obviously rises with player count, I'm talking about 4 player games here, but feel free to share any insight.
 
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Bojan Brankov
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Kromherjan wrote:

In my TM games from round 3 onward every spell usually gets taken by someone every round (except bridges ). Now in GP there's two more spells (not counting the qic actions, because they aren't direct competition). Do you feel, that this eases up competition for them? Because I really enjoy the outcries around the table, when someone passes first and takes the spell you desperately needed as his first action next turn cool


I noticed no big rush with power actions. 7 credit one is still often hot, but I never found it disastrous when someone take it in front of me both in TM or GP, because you can always exchange power for money or a worker without spending an action.

What was highly contested for, especially in the late game are those QIC actions. Now these actions are serious. Especially the one that gives you raw points for different planets. In late phases it's around 10 or 12 points easily. And there's the one that allows you to rescore your "city" tile, which is also amazing. So there's that.
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Geoff Speare
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Not answers to specific questions but a general observation.

I played once using the suggested starting races and had a very lopsided game. I think this is because evaluating the starting bonuses and now map layout is at least as important as it is in TM. Handing out races at random bypasses that analysis and can give someone a huge advantage (or disadvantage) from the start.

This is good for serious players as it gives them a lot to think about, but can pose a problem for more casual players and/or beginners. Expect a lot of "Race X is OP / useless" posts.
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galfridus wrote:
Not answers to specific questions but a general observation.

I played once using the suggested starting races and had a very lopsided game. I think this is because evaluating the starting bonuses and now map layout is at least as important as it is in TM. Handing out races at random bypasses that analysis and can give someone a huge advantage (or disadvantage) from the start.

This is good for serious players as it gives them a lot to think about, but can pose a problem for more casual players and/or beginners. Expect a lot of "Race X is OP / useless" posts.


i think this will prove to be true. the variable setup is a great feature but it does mean it's quite possible to have starting setups that greatly favor a certain race. for beginner games I think the way to solve this would be to have suggested setups that not only set the races but also the layout of the technology board and the end game scoring tiles. that way a first game doesn't have a clear leader.

i also think the game will need a race bidding mechanism for even moderately experienced players else certain setups will result in the first player having too large an advantage.
 
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colinmarsh wrote:
the variable setup is a great feature but it does mean it's quite possible to have starting setups that greatly favor a certain race. (...)
i also think the game will need a race bidding mechanism for even moderately experienced players else certain setups will result in the first player having too large an advantage.

Personally I didn't experience such too large advantages for the first player. Did you play with the variable board setup from the advanced rules? This would mean that the last player to pick a faction, who therefore is interested in a balanced board, is allowed to turn the six outer or even all sectors to balance out the game before faction selection starts. We used to turn the six outer tiles and this worked quite nicely to shut down perceivedly too strong choices. I'd definitly recommend this rule for all groups that are already experienced enough to somehow read a setup. As it's not allowed to swap sectors, the setup still remains random.
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Kromherjan wrote:
In my TM games from round 3 onward every spell usually gets taken by someone every round (except bridges ). Now in GP there's two more spells (not counting the qic actions, because they aren't direct competition). Do you feel, that this eases up competition for them?


I only played 2-player GP but I felt like there was less competition for the power actions, not because there are more of them, but because there are things like Gaiaforming and forming alliances that make you less likely to get a bunch of power in Area III to be able to take the power actions. At least that was my experience.

I also agree that the QIC actions are hotly contested at the end (even with just 2 players).
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HenningK
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Kromherjan wrote:
@ all playtesters chipping in: Good stuff, keep it coming laugh

Another question:
In my TM games from round 3 onward every spell usually gets taken by someone every round (except bridges ). Now in GP there's two more spells (not counting the qic actions, because they aren't direct competition). Do you feel, that this eases up competition for them? Because I really enjoy the outcries around the table, when someone passes first and takes the spell you desperately needed as his first action next turn cool

PS: I'm just realizing, that the need to race for spells obviously rises with player count, I'm talking about 4 player games here, but feel free to share any insight.


Lots of power actions get taken, but I feel they are not quite as hotly contested as in TM. The power gain from neighbours is limited to the largest building, so you don't leech quite as much. Also, the 7 coin and spade actions are not in quite as high demand as in TM - trading posts give more money, and improving the terraforming track is a little easier and more worthwhile compared to TM, where non-Halflings very rarely upgraded digging.

The new “3 science for 7 power“ action was rarely taken in my few playtest games as it is damned expensive. But hoarding science and researching like crazy is extremely fun.

The QIC actions were usually taken only in the last round, but they give lots of points. Gaining QICs is really hard, by the way.
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Colin Marsh
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SpaceTrucker wrote:
colinmarsh wrote:
the variable setup is a great feature but it does mean it's quite possible to have starting setups that greatly favor a certain race. (...)
i also think the game will need a race bidding mechanism for even moderately experienced players else certain setups will result in the first player having too large an advantage.

Personally I didn't experience such too large advantages for the first player. Did you play with the variable board setup from the advanced rules? This would mean that the last player to pick a faction, who therefore is interested in a balanced board, is allowed to turn the six outer or even all sectors to balance out the game before faction selection starts. We used to turn the six outer tiles and this worked quite nicely to shut down perceivedly too strong choices. I'd definitly recommend this rule for all groups that are already experienced enough to somehow read a setup. As it's not allowed to swap sectors, the setup still remains random.


we did although i admit we didn't have a strong enough understanding of the game to feel like we were affecting too much. it will certainly take a lot more plays to see how things balance out.
 
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Josef Sannholm
Sweden
Uddevalla
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Check out my Youtube channel, Boardgames with Niramas for Board game Runthroughs and Unboxings!
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If you want to see it played, check out my gameplay runthrough here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT4lYbri8y0&list=PLWkkyRkRFx...

Regards Niramas
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