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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Which card is better: Soletta or Giant Ice Asteroid? rss

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Jojo
Germany
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Imagine: You will start your 4-players-game and you have chosen Teractor as your corporation. In your starting hand you have Soletta (7 heat production for 35 MC) and Giant Ice Asteroid (two Oceans and two temperature raises for 36 MC). Which card do you keep in order to play it in your first turn?

If you play the Asteroid you will get immediately four TR which also means an MC-increase of four. And you are also able to reduce the costs of this card by 10 MC if you place the oceans on the spots with two titanium- and two steel-resources.

So, how could Soletta ever be the better choice? Perhaps you will be able to raise temperature six times during the game because of that card and you will have a path to the Termalist Award. But is this enough to play Soletta instead of the Giant Ice Asteroid?

Definitely a tough question! laugh
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AJ Cooper
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I would usually prefer the Giant Ice Asteroid. Not really a fan of Soletta. Some possible exceptions:

If nobody else is Helion or Thorgate, Soletta may become a little more appealing, since you have a better chance of low competition on the temperature track.

If we are playing on the Elysium board, the specialist milestone ups the value of Soletta.

If I also have Insulation, Soletta looks much better.

Most of the time though, I am not comfortable putting so many eggs in one basket.

The only real drawback of GIA on generation 1 is that usually you don't kill any plants, so a (small) part of what you paid for goes to waste.
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Matthieu Fontaines
France
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I would definitely take the Giant Ice Asteroid if I play Teractor (or any non-Helion corp), even in the case of Helion, I would surely take it.

Another advantage of GIA is to secure 4 TR that other players won't be able to have.

GIA is definitely a extremelly powerfull initial card.
 
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Stephen Meyers
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Frederick
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Just asking ....

You still would keep Soletta wouldn't you and play it ASAP, No?







.

 
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Florian Ruckeisen
Germany
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I'll offer some more arguments, some of them pro-Soletta:

- expected value: So we're talking a 4p game, I'm assuming with CE. You can expect that to run 10 generations. That yields 9*7 = 63 heat generated by a gen1 Soletta (not counting final generation production), so juuuust shy of 8 temp steps worth of heat (not just 6). Meaning that in terms of raw TR, Soletta gains you roundabout twice as much as GIA (assuming temperature doesn't max out too quickly for you to make use of it).
And I wouldn't regard the Thermalist jumpstart as just an aside either. Soletta is the biggest heat generator, and awards are juicy. GIA does nothing for that. (Well arguably it gets you 4 TR towards Terraformer, but so will Soletta by gen6 at the latest.)

- setting people up: The instant terraforming of GIA can give extra benefits - either to yourself, or to your opponents. Those 2 temp steps can set someone up nicely for a bonus heat step, and the 2 oceans offer further placement bonuses, or work towards cards with requirements.
If you're the one to get those extra benefits, all the better. If not, you're helping your opponents. Soletta just increases your heat engine with not much else to consider.

- instant money: GIA returning 2 steel and 2 titanium via placement bonuses sounds nice, and it is nice if you can use that stuff shortly. If not (which isn't all too common, but happens), you've got some dead capital sitting around; in that case, those 10 M€ worth of resources aren't actually a factor for some time.
On the other hand, cards like Electro Catapult, Space Elevator, and Advanced Alloys make those resources even more valuable. With those in hand, I'm pretty sure I'd go for GIA, because early money is best money. cool

- income: GIA offers +4 M€ income instantly from the 4 TR. Soletta gains you more TR over time, but (assuming no other heat production, which is kinda unfair, but necessary to keep the comparison simple) will take until gen6 to earn the 4th TR.
By then, GIA has already earned back 20 M€, Soletta only about 6 (at minimum). Soletta will continue to earn more TR and thus more money until the end of the game, but it will likely not be enough to catch up to GIA's earnings.
Plus income boost in early generations is way more valuable than the same amount in the final generations, so GIA clearly has the edge both in instant money return and short-term (and total) income.

Talmanes wrote:
If nobody else is Helion or Thorgate, Soletta may become a little more appealing, since you have a better chance of low competition on the temperature track.
[...]
Most of the time though, I am not comfortable putting so many eggs in one basket.

I'm kind of the other way round - I like putting "production pressure" on my opponents. Whatever else they were planning, they are probably very uncomfortable with me plonking down 7 heat production in gen1. It will earn me a ton of TR unless they act.

And it's similar with the Thermalist advantage: Before long, people will be looking at the game state to determine who has what chance at which award. It's always a really bad feeling seeing an opponent with a big edge in one of them - not just because of that award itself, but also because it puts pressure on them to fund a different one instead, which they may not really want to do.

That kind of thing is hard to ascribe a value to, but it's definitely something Soletta does for you which GIA can't.
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Alexander Einich
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Of course it would depend on which other cards I have, but if I have nothing special except these two I would try to play both in the first 2 generations.

The order Giant Space Asteroid, then Soletta would be easier to do because of the 2 titanium gained and the increase in income: I'd need to keep only 5 MC at the end of gen1 to be able to play Soletta on gen2 (5+24+6=35), which is very doable. However, if possible I would prefer doing it the other way round in the hope that someone raises temperature during gen1 (or before I play in gen2), which would allow me to reach one of the bonus heat productions with Giant Ice Asteroid in gen2.

Edit: can't calculate.
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Bill Collins
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My answer is actually "it depends on the other corps". In other words, if Helion is in the game, and I'm not it, does Soletta fit with my overall long term strategy? Conversely, if I can plunk down a 4 TR increase and two oceans and I'm Ecoline, I can start building (hopefully) forests around those oceans to get cash. And then what cards do I have in my initial picks that might require oceans?
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mister mystery
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varianor wrote:
My answer is actually "it depends on the other corps". In other words, if Helion is in the game, and I'm not it, does Soletta fit with my overall long term strategy? Conversely, if I can plunk down a 4 TR increase and two oceans and I'm Ecoline, I can start building (hopefully) forests around those oceans to get cash. And then what cards do I have in my initial picks that might require oceans?


just that with ecoline you cant afford either card anyway in round 1.

But I agree about corps, if phobolog is in, i rather try to occupy the ocean with titanium rather quick. (10 cost ocean is nice early on).
With mining guild taking off the steal and titanium spot before anyone can is good. Of course they will get placement bonus for adjecent spots and 2 credits of the ocean, but two potential spots taken and one of the rather cheap standard project available ones, cities/greeneries are just so much more expensive early on. Some placements require non adjacent as far as I know, no card requires an adjecent ocean as far as i remember.

If you have any cheap card to stall one round even better so you might be able to raise the temp one more next round (and first player, etc.)

I generally would take the GIA over soletta, and probly even more if i have other cards that interact with oceans or cheap placement tiles adjacent....
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Bill Collins
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I wouldn't actually expect to build much on Turn 1 past either Giant Ice Asteroid or Soletta, unless I had a wonderful, cheap card and/or a corp with the right money or resources.
 
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Sonny A.
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varianor wrote:
I wouldn't actually expect to build much on Turn 1 past either Giant Ice Asteroid or Soletta, unless I had a wonderful, cheap card and/or a corp with the right money or resources.


Yeah, most corps can't afford it. Mining Guild would love to play Giant Ice Asteroid on turn 1 though
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Enoch Fryxelius
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Excellent analysis by everyone in the thread!

I think I would take a look around the table to see if any of the other players are going for heat. If this has to be your first action (because you don't have anything else to do) then it's tricky to see that, of course. It's great to be alone on the heat-track - there is a lot of TR! In that case I might even discard GIA so I don't steal TR from myself and pick up other cards instead, maybe more heat-cards if I get those...

If I expect the game to be long (because of expansions, CE, or playing without Solar Phase) then Soletta is really attractive...
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Florian Ruckeisen
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EagleEye80 wrote:
If I expect the game to be long (because of expansions, CE, or playing without Solar Phase) then Soletta is really attractive...

To be honest, when I initially read the thread title and OP, my immediate gut reaction was: "Generation 1? Well of course Soletta will be better, no doubt about it!"

But a case certainly can be made for preferring GIA instead, so thanks to Jojoo for making me doubt the underlying "early production is king" paradigm. cool
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Alexander Einich
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Snapshot wrote:
EagleEye80 wrote:
If I expect the game to be long (because of expansions, CE, or playing without Solar Phase) then Soletta is really attractive...

To be honest, when I initially read the thread title and OP, my immediate gut reaction was: "Generation 1? Well of course Soletta will be better, no doubt about it!"

But a case certainly can be made for preferring GIA instead, so thanks to Jojoo for making me doubt the underlying "early production is king" paradigm. cool

This is the big difference between solo and multiplayer. In solo, early production is indeed king. In multiplayer, it is only president: it often still rules, but not undisputed. laugh
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Bill Gallagher
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I agree that with any corporation other than Helion, the Giant Ice Asteroid (GIA) is a no-brainer.

Even as Helion, the GIA may well be better (even if you can't get the optimal ocean placement due to turn order or other considerations), because:
--- Although Helion can convert the heat into MC (thus increasing available funds), it's only three additional MC per turn. Also, the TR boost from GIA has a long-term benefit (it's in essence four VPs).
--- Yeah, Soletta can give you a jump start towards the Thermalist award. However, depending on the circumstances, you might have to commit to it too early, when you probably have better use for the MC needed to do so.

With Teractor, definitely take the GIA - depending on the other initial cards, you may well discard Soletta.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Lynnwood
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As Helion, take Soletta and play T1 and be happy.

As any other corp, take Giant Ice Asteroid. (I find Soletta relatively bad in general). May or may not end up playing it T1 depending on what other income cards I have, and whether I could get something off the water placement like Titanium that would let me play something else, and make it efficient.
 
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Vergililus De Kat
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Snapshot wrote:
...To be honest, when I initially read the thread title and OP, my immediate gut reaction was: "Generation 1? Well of course Soletta will be better, no doubt about it!"...

Same here, but I like the arguments in favor of a gen.1 GIA

Interesting discussion! meeple
 
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Bill Gallagher
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Alexfrog wrote:
As Helion, take Soletta and play T1 and be happy.

As any other corp, take Giant Ice Asteroid. (I find Soletta relatively bad in general). May or may not end up playing it T1 depending on what other income cards I have, and whether I could get something off the water placement like Titanium that would let me play something else, and make it efficient.

Agreed, Alex. I tried playing Soletta on turn 1 with another corporation (the one that gives discounts to cost 20+ cards). I came in last - lesson learned.
 
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David Grabiner
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UNMI would also like Soletta. It gives an easy way to get your one terraform every generation (starting on the second if you can get one more heat), and thus make use of your special ability.
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