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Terraforming Mars» Forums » Strategy

Subject: A Quantified Guide to TM Strategy rss

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I-Sheng Yang
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Official Version. Thanks to all the discussions.

A Korean translation by minsuu can be found at the following blog.
http://blog.naver.com/ps_ir/221134459188
Currently the 1st half is completed.


I should write the Chinese version myself.... but couldn't find the time lately.
I'm sorry.


Big thank to my high-school classmate, hcy1, who offers to do the Chinese translation.
https://hcy1.blogspot.com/2018/09/blog-post.html

Update Logs
*Corrected the title. Thanks to bakija.
*Update the charts to better format. Thanks to golden_cow2.
*Minor rearrangement between Section 1 and 2.
*Added a paragraph to explain that the values of “variable” cards have be calculated on the run. Thanks to RobAntilles.
*Added a few paragraphs to emphasize that everything you can do without cards can also be done with cards. Thus the point is to not letting them done by cards without proper competition. Thanks to karelpepiku.
*Added Section 7.6 for the value of drawing cards later in the game.
Thanks to Johndoe2116.
*Added the last paragraph of 7.6 about the potential value of card-draws early in the game.
Thanks to leggejp1.
*Corrected my statement in Mining Guild. Thanks to hcy1.
*Enhanced my explanation on Helion. Thanks to hcy1.

***************** Basic Theory**************************

1. Efficiency of Cards.

1.1 Standard Cards


Most of the green/red cards give you fixed amount of things.

If you go through those among the 137 standard cards (excluding the 71 Corporate Era cards marked by red triangles), add 3M to their cost (what you pay to keep a card), you can derive a surprisingly consistent price-list. (Or something close enough for the purpose.)

1 Energy Production: 7M
1 Temperature Increase: 10M
1 Ocean Tile: 14M

1 Heat Production: 6M
1 Plant Production: 10M
1 Terraforming Rating (TR): 10M
1 Victory Point (VP): 5M
1 M Income: 5M
1 Steel Production: 8M
1 Titanium Production: 10M

1 Plant = 1 Steel = 1 Titanium = 1 card = 2 Heat = 2M = 1/2 Tile Placement

The cost to play most cards (including the 3M you need to spend to keep it), can be calculated quite consistently by combining what it gives you in the above rate, plus two adjustments.

A. Whole-Sale Discount:
A bigger card that gives you multiple things are even cheaper.
For example, [Giant Ice Asteroid] gives you 2 temperature + 2 lakes, at only (36+3)M.

B. Requirement Adjustments:
The cards with harder requirements are cheaper.
In particular, Plant Production cards usually have requirements, and their costs can vary by +/- 4M.
The price for other things usually varies by +/- 2M.

Cards that give you variable rewards (save money on card play, add tokens for VP) cannot be directly evaluated this way.


1.2 Corporate Era Cards.

The Corporate Era cards follow roughly the same average, but with a much wider variation range.
Some can be things 2-4M cheaper, while some others are 2-4M more expensive.

Corporate Era comes with more Jovian and Earth tags.
They also come with more Science Tags, and more things that require Science Tags.
The cost for a Science Tag is about 4~5M, and the requirements increases the card value accordingly.


1.3 Self-Consistency:

Relative values between things are quite balanced.
A few examples here.

14M (An Ocean) = 10M (A Temperature) + 4M (Tile Placement Bonus)
10M (1TR) = 5M (1VP) + 5M (1M Income)

The rough value of “windfall” resources from cards I gave,
1 Plant = 1 Steel = 1 Titanium = 1 card = 2 Heat = 2M,
is obviously not meant to be exact.
It is however a good estimation.

1 Plant is more than 2M when turned into Greeneries, however they are prong to destruction.
8 Heat allows you to do something that costs 10M with cards, but it is very limited.
Titanium is worth more than Steel when it is used, but there are more cards with Building tags, and they help toward Builder.
1 useful card is 3M, and 1 useless card is 1M.
Most importantly, hexes on the board offer two of those objects as rewards (except for heat), so they are the opportunity cost of one another.


2. Preliminary Analysis:

2.1 Card Advantage:

Compare to Standard Projects (SP):
1 Energy Production: 11M
1 Temperature Increase: 14M
1 Ocean Tile: 18M
We can see that SP are 4M more expensive than the same thing from cards.

In fact, a Greenery Tile = 10M (1TR) + 5M (1VP) + 4M (Placement Bonus) = 19M.
Thus, using the Greenery SP is also paying 4M more than getting the same thing from cards.
You basically “overpay” 4M whenever you use a SP.


2.2 How to use these values?

As a fact, the values given in Sec.1 are the ``costs’’ for getting different things from cards.
Since SP are more expensive, you would prefer to get things from cards.
Thus, in this strategy guide, I am going to treat these values as the ``efficiency goal’’.
Namely, the simple strategy is to always be efficient, and the standard of being ``sufficiently efficient’’ is just being as efficient as the average performance of cards.

This sounds easy, but is of course quite involved.
All blue cards and a few green/red cards actually give you variable rewards, which may depend on how many times you will use them, other cards you (or opponents) already played, and where you place the tile it gives.
Needless to say, you will need to do some math, try to anticipate the condition when you play those cards, and see if they are worthwhile.
At least, the values given in Sec.1 give you a standard to compare to.
If a card with variable reward, at its maximum performance, is still worse than values given in Sec.1, there is absolutely no reason to keep/play it.

Another thing that can change really fast is the value of tile-placement.
Early in the game, you can almost always snatch two objects.
That will change after a few generations.
On the other hand, there will be Oceans that give you 2M.
There are also implicit strategic values of placing tiles in certain places.
Thus you will need to adjust the value of tiles as the game progresses.

As a simple rule, the values in Sec.1 is useful for selecting cards during the first few generations.
During those times, the board is wide open, and your strategy is still flexible.
Almost anything efficient will be good for you.

Finally, raw values aside, it is very useful to remember the two adjustment.
Due to the whole-sale discount, big cards are almost always efficient.
Any card that happens to satisfy the requirement because certain TR scale is moving particularly fast, is also usually worth it, especially when the requirement is just being satisfied.


3. Strategy Tips for using cards:

3.1: You don’t have to build an income engine.


The cards that actually give you 1VP for 5M are quite rare.
The most common thing to get is a TR, which forces you to combine a VP and an Income.
Later in the game, income becomes useless, and you are still happy to spend 10M just for the VP.

Now, imagine that you spend 5M to increase 1M income.
If your game lasts for 10 generations (can definitely be shorter!), you get 10M back and will spend that 10M for 1VP in the end.
That’s nothing more than just spending 5M for 1VP in the beginning.

Thus, there is no such thing as “I must build income engine first” in this game.
Early in the game, almost anything you can get from cards are cost-efficient, VP included.
As the game progresses, the value of income decreases, and you gradually prefer to have more VP and immediate resources.

Of course, this game is not against engine building.
Quite often with Teractor, Tharsis or Mining Guild, with the right starting hand, you will generate massive income/discount in the first few generations.
That is not a bad thing, but just don’t think that gives you a definite advantage.

If your opponents maintain the efficiency of 1 TR per 10M, it’s still about a tie at this point.
You still need to use your income wisely in the later half of the game in order to win.


3.2: Have enough money/resource to spend on good cards when you get them.

This sounds easy, but very often players fall into one particular trap.
You do not have to go all out in the first generation.

True, if you raise that TR one generation earlier, you get to enjoy extra income 1 generation earlier.
However, 1 generation earlier is just 1M extra.
When a big card comes your way in the 2nd generation, and you do not have enough money to play it, you miss out a lot more due to the wholesale discount.

In the occasion that you do not get sufficiently good cards to spend all of your money during the first generation, feel free to keep the money.
Don’t be hasty to spend them on Standard Projects Temperature or Oceans, unless that happens to be a good deal on its own due to extra bonuses.


3.3: How to get more useful cards?

3.3.1: Think about late-game. Namely, VP sources.


As mentioned earlier, most things are generally useful for everyone early in the game.
However, later in the game you really only want that 5M->1VP conversion.
You usually won’t get it and have to spend money on less efficient conversions.

Thus, if a card can potentially give you close to 5M->VP conversion later in the game (or slowly throughout the game), it is worth keeping and/or playing.


3.3.2: Flexibility.

The more flexible your strategy is, the more cards will be useful for you.
Income/TR/Plant/Heat/Titanium/Steel are almost always useful early in the game.
However, Energy/Animal/Microbe/Science, and long-term VP generating cards are not so clear, since their efficiency requires timing and synergy.
I will come back to these two points later.

A simple rule is that, as long as your economy can afford, and the card you get is efficient according to later calculations, you should try to branch-out as much as possible.
That increases your chance to get useful cards.


4. Strategy tips for not using cards.

True that SP is 4M more expensive than using cards for the same thing.
However, it is ONLY 4M more expensive, and there are many circumstances which can tip the scale.
Due to the circumstantial extra rewards, using SP can become as efficient, or even more efficient, than the average performance of cards.
It is very important to keep those opportunities in your minds, and snatch them whenever possible.

Please remember that almost everything you can do without cards, someone can do that with cards, if he/she has the right card at the right time.
Thus, if something is beneficial without cards, it will be even more beneficial if someone does it with cards.
If you don’t watch out for those opportunities, you are giving a big gift to the player who happens to have the right card at the right time, and often also giving the victory.

I am giving a list which is by no mean complete.
It’s just here to inspire people to realize more.


4.1 Extra TM steps (Temperature bump from Oxygen, and Ocean from Temperature)

A free Ocean (14M) or Temperature (10M) is so good that you still want it even if using 2 SP (spending 8M more than using cards).
Also, remember that people can still snatch those with cards!
If you don’t get them with SP when you have the chance, it is a big gift for your opponents.
As you get better in this game, you should start to count the turn order a few rounds earlier before those bonus steps, and even thinking about selling cards to stall to make the timing right.


4.2 Heat Production on the Temperature Track can be TRAPS!

1 Heat Production = 6M on average.
However, a small heat production cannot raise temperature early and doesn’t really help toward thermalist.
So it’s only worth the price if the heat will be useful for you.

If you do SP Asteroid, you are wasting 4M.
If doing that once can give you a heat production, AND if that heat production is useful, it breaks even.
Otherwise, don’t do it.
Don’t use 2 SP in a row just for the heat production.
Don’t even use 1 SP to get it unless you are sure that heat production is useful.


4.3 Milestones and Awards.

You overpay 4M for each Greenery SP.
However, if doing that 3 times guarantees you the Gardener Milestone, that is 4M*3 + 8M = 20M for 5 VP.
This is better than the average rate you get from cards.

In various situations, other Milestones and Awards can also have a similar effect.
If using a few SP helps you to secure one of those, it is usually worthwhile.

In fact, the most common and fatal mistake is forgetting to compete for this, and let someone get a Milestone/Award without significant effort.

For example, does Ecoline win a lot in your group?
It does in the statistics here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1654557/help-needed-lets-co...
Maybe you want to ask yourself:
Does Ecoline always ``naturally’’ get the Gardener Milestone?
That absolutely should not happen.
As shown above, almost any Corporation can get Gardener by generation 3.
Ecoline needs (7-2)+(7-2)+7 - 2*2 - 3 = 10 extra plants to be able to use its ability 3 times by generation 3, which is not too easy.
Thus Ecoline should not be guaranteed the Gardener, or needs be somewhat paranoid and at least SP Greenery once to secure it.


4.4 Ocean Bonus.

Placing near an Ocean gets you 2M back.
Thus, if you can us SP Ocean or Greenery and place the tile next to 2 Oceans, that negates what you overpaid.


4.5 Points from City.

Placing a Greenery tile next to your own city gives you 1VP.
Since 1VP = 5M, that is sufficient to negate the 4M you overpaid in the Greenery SP.
When Oxygen is not maxed yet, placing a Greenery Tile next to your city is a very efficient move that is easily forgotten.

An SP City gives you 4M (Placement Bonus) + 5M (1M income) = 9M.
Thus, if you place it near 3 Greenery Tiles, you break even.
This does not happen often early in the game though.

Note that the composition of things you get for Greenery/City are more points than income.
Thus they become even better in later generations of the game.
Starting from mid-game, placing a City next to 2 Greenery tiles is already worth getting.


4.6 Using Plants.

You can get 8 plants at a cost of 16M from cards.
A Greenery tile is worth 19M, as calculated earlier.
Thus, turning plants into a Greenery tile is an awesome deal.
The risk is that idling plants tend to get destroyed.

Remember to use the cards which gives you plants directly, place tiles, or even SP Ocean, if that pushes you to 8 plants.
Then, use your 2nd action to place a Greenery tile right away.
This is the main reason why you want to do 2 actions.


5. General Thoughts:

5.1 One action or two actions?


The most common situations that you should do 2 actions is (A) Rushing for a Milestone and (B) Using your Plants.
Otherwise, it is better to act later and respond to your opponents move.
In particular, if you are placing tiles, acting later increases the chance that you can place them next to newly placed Oceans.


5.2 How long should the game last?

This is a deep question that I don’t have a direct answer.
It is however, an important question.
Since you need to use the game duration to estimation the efficiency of many cards that rewards you every turn.

The best I can do here is to translate it to another questions:
How many players ignore Terraforming?

Big events, and all the good things to do without cards (see section 4), tend to help terraforming.
On the other hand, many Blue/Green cards tend to focus on generating income, production, and alternative sources of VP.

Players with many Blue/Green cards therefore want the game to be longer, and their actions are making the game longer.
Players who focuses on the board, SP, and event cards want the game to be shorter, and their actions are making the game shorter.

Thus, the length of the game is determined by how many players are doing what.
Unfortunately, both long and short games (4er, more or less than 10 generations) seem to be "local Nash equilibrium".
A dedicated terrafomer rarely wins if 3 other players focus on engine building and prolong the game.
Likewise, a dedicated engine-builder rarely wins if 3 other players terraform diligently and end the game in 8 generations.

I personally do not like long games.
The main problem is that for engine-builders, the victory is usually decided too early.
In prolonged games, the best engine will win, and it's usually clear whose is the best when there are still 3-5 generations left.
It is annoying to be the only terraformer, if the inferior engine owners still runs their engines happily, showing no signs of revelation and remorse.
It is also annoying to be the player with the inferior engine, knowing that I just preemptively eliminated myself.
It is probably most annoying to be the winning player, knowing that my victory comes from other players prolonging the game for me.
Besides, since engine-building relies more on synergy of cards, it depends more on luck than terraforming.
As a more conventional euro player, I try to minimize luck in my games.

Due to this personal preference, I only build engines if it is rewarding enough (1VP/5M) even in short games (8 generations in 4er).
Such engines have a very good chance to be the best one in longer games, and still have a reasonable chance to win in short games.
At least I have will have no regret either way.


****************Applications**************************

6. Corporations:

I will first give an initial value evaluation based on the prices in Section 1.
I recommend choosing a Corporation if its initial value works out to be 60M or more based on your initial cards.
Then I might give a few comments on the corporation based on my own experience.

Saturn Systems: 42M + 1 Titanium Production (10M) + 1M Income (5M) = 57M
Plus 1M Income (5M) for each Jovian Tag you plan to play early.

There are not many Jovian cards that other players will want to play early, especially when this corporation is present.
So it is mostly about how many you have.


Teractor: 60M + 3M for each Earth Tag you plan to play early.

There are many Earth cards that increases your income, so it is common for Teractor to have tones of income.
Don’t forget that you still need VP to win the game though.
Even without those, your large amount of initial cash also makes you a very flexible corporation.
Remember that if you don't find earth card synergies, you should try to terraform and end the game early.
Since your advantage on early cash diminishes with the length of the game.


Tharsis Republic: 40M + 4M (1 Placement Bonus) + 5M (1M Income) + 3M (Placing City reward) = 52M

This is the only corporation that can win without playing any cards.

Recall Section 4.2, SP Greenery is as efficient as cards if you place it next to one of your cities.
Tharsis starts with a city, so SP Greenery is efficient from the very beginning.

Furthermore, SP City breaks even at 3 Greeneries for other players.
Tharsis gets 1M income and 3M rebate, thus SP City breaks even at 2 or even 1 neighbouring Greeneries.

So, basically, you can choose Tharsis and take 0 cards.
Just focus on placing Greenery and City tiles with SP and the plants you gather.
(Of course, if there are good cards that does the same thing, even better.)
You don’t even need to worry if your opponents take your 2-Greenery spot for their own city.
That move is not efficient for them, and you get 1M income anyway.
There is really no obvious way to stop you from tiling the Mars up while everyone else is still busy setting up their games.

You should be able to snatch either Mayor or Gardener by generation 3, and possibly both by generation 4-5.
You are also very likely to get the Landlord Award.

All these can be achieved without playing a single card!


Helion: 42M + 15M (3 Heat Production counted as 3M prouction) = 57M

Don’t be shy to get more heat production.
Feel free to delay using them one generation, if that means getting the extra bonus on the temperature track.
Don’t be shy to use them as money if there are very important cards that should be played early.

In fact, unless you get more heat production early, I am only counting those heat as money.
Finally, fund Thermalist early, since that is more efficient than using your heat on anything else.


Interplanetary Cinematics: 30M + 40M (20 Steel) = 70M
This is an over-estimation if you cannot spend all those Steels early.

The events rarely use Steels, thus your special power usually should not be counted toward the initial value.
Using your Steels early and getting Builder Milestone is more important than your other ability of getting rebate on events.


Mining Guild: 30M + 10M (5 Steel) + 8M (1 Steel Production) = 48M
Plus 8M for each bonus Steel Production you can gain early.

Needless to say, every tile-placing card is your friend.
The extra production you get also negates the 4M you overpay on SP Greenery and Ocean.
Although using those early might derail you from the important race to the Builder Milestone.


Phobolog: 23M + 40M (10 Titanium enhanced!) = 63M
You will only use this if you can actually spend those Titanium early.
Thus I am counting them as their full effective prices, instead of the average price.

Phobolog is the best one to play multiple terraforming events early.


Credicor: 57M + 4M for each 20+ card you plan to play early.

This is another corporation that can play multiple big events early.
Also, the 4M rebate makes SP Greenery as efficient as cards.
SP City also almost breaks even at 2 neighbouring Greeneries instead of 3.
Your setup to play without cards is not as solid as Tharsis, but it can be a reasonable alternative once in a while.


Ecoline: 36M + 20M (2 Plant Production) + 6M (3 Plants) = 62M
Note that this is an underestimation.
Plants and plants production obviously worth more to Ecoline than everyone else.

You have the best initial production.
You benefit from every card that gives you plants directly, increases your production, or allow you to place tiles.
Use those to push your plants stock to 7 and use them right away to avoid destruction.
Extra tile placement increases the flexibility on where you can place more Greenery tiles, helps you to secure Landlord, and breaks your pattern it is harder for opponents to benefit from your Greenery tiles.


UNMI: 40M + ???
It’s a bit hard to quantify its ability.

It is not very good at getting the Terraformer Milestone. (in 4er or 5er)
Credicor or Phobolog with big events has slightly better chance to get that.
The problem is that Mayor and Gardener can easily be gone before generation 5, and Builder can be fast for anyone with the right initial hand.
Once in a while, a Planner will show up to surprise everyone.
Thus even with UNMI, you kind of have to aim for 11TR yourself at the regular price, which is not so easy in 4 generations.

However, in mid-late game, you can easily guarantee yourself 1TR per generation, which means 3M to 1TR every round.
That is the most efficient "per turn" effect in the corporations, even slightly better than the plant production from Ecoline.


Inventrix: 45M + 6M (3 cards) = 51M
+4M if that Science Symbol fulfills the requirement of cards you plan to play early.
Also, you choose this one mostly because you can play cheap production cards (by waiving requirements) early.
Count how much cheaper those cards are compared to the average costs.


Thorgate: 48M + 7M (1 Energy Production) = 55M
Plus 3M for each power card you plan to play early.

You want to have cards which uses energy and deduct energy production.
Energy production can always be done through SP if needed.


Standard Corporation: 42M + 20M (10 Cards) = 62M


7. Combo Efficiency:

Here I will talk about mostly blue cards (and some green cards) whose value depends on how you use them.
The most important number I will give is how many usages (generations/triggers) that you break even on these cards.
Namely, you get 1VP per 5M you invest.


7.1 Jovian Tags:

In the standard deck, there are 2 cards with Jovian Tags plus 1VP per Jovian Tag.

[Ganymede Colony] provides nothing but the 1VP/Jovian.
You’ll need 4-5 Jovian Tags to be as efficient as 1VP/5M.

[Water Import from Europa] offers a 2M discount on placing Oceans at the cost of (25+3)M.
Depending on how many times you can use that, its 1VP/Jovian might be efficient at 3-4 Jovian Tags.

There are 4 other cards with Jovian Tags.

[Beam from a Thorium Astroid] and [Methane from Titan] are both very efficient due to their wholesale discount and requirements.
If you can play them early, they are efficient on their own.

[Asteroid Mining] costs (30+3)M and gives only 30M worth of VP+production.
It is somewhat situational.

[Colonizer Training Camp] is 11M for 2VP, which is worth playing.
Actually, almost every card with Maximum Requirement are worth playing.

In the Corporate Era deck, there is one VP/Jovian card, it requires 3 Jovian Tags to be worthwhile.
There are 5 other cards with Jovian Tags (obviously higher density than the standard deck).

[Vesta Shipyard] and [Callisto Penal Mines] are slightly less efficient than average.

[Asteroid Mining Consortium] is on par with average.

[Miranda Resort] breaks even at 2 Earth Tags.

[Terraforming Ganymede] breaks even at 3 Jovian Tags.

If you are Saturn Systems, every early Jovian Tag has its value increased by 5M (1M Income), and every Jovian/VP card has its value increased by another 5M (1VP).
Every card above suddenly becomes efficient.
If someone else is Saturn Systems, you might reconsider playing early Jovian cards.
Late cards are not a big concern.


7.2 Energy:

There are two ways to spend energy with cards.
You can spend energy, and you can spend energy production.
Usually, if you can get two-out-of-three from cards (production, use energy, use production), it breaks even and is equally powerful with other cards.

There are 22 cards that produce energy, 22 cards that uses energy production, and 6 cards that use energy.
This is the largest group of potentially synergies.
If you ignore the entire energy sector, you will be seeing many useless cards in your hand.


7.2.1 Using Energy:

There are 5 cards that use energy in the Standard Deck.
Their combo-cost should include the investment for energy production.
I will be using 7M for each energy production, which assumes that you get them from cards.
If you have to use SP, then add 4M to the cost for each energy production.

[Martial Rails]: Cost 13M + 3M + 7M = 23M

[Steelworks]/[Ore Processor]/[Ironworks]
Cost 15/13/11M + 3M + 4*7M = 46/44/42M
Breaks even at 4 usages before oxygen is maxed.

[Water Splitting Plant]: Cost 12M + 3M + 3*7M = 36M
Breaks event at 4 usages before oxygen is maxed.

There is one card that uses energy in the Corporate Era deck.
[Physics Complex]: Cost 12M + 3M + 6*7M = 57M
Breaks even at 6 usages.

For all of them, you need 1 more usage to break even for every 2-3 energy production you need to get from SP instead of cards.


7.2.2: Using Energy Production:

There are 5 cards that converts energy production into other productions, without giving any TR/VP.
Among them, [Hacker] is an attack card which is bad unless in 2er.
All others follow the standard price listed in Sec.1.
Thus, if you can get the energy production from cards, not SP, they are all worth play early in the game.

There are 7 cards that converts energy production into a fixed mixture of VP+Income.
Among them, [Electro Catapult] is terrible, and [Soil Factory] is slightly worse than average.
The other 5 cards here have standard efficiency.

The remaining 9 City cards plus [Commercial District] all convert energy into other productions plus variable VP.

Assuming that you get the energy production for 7M (from cards), 3 cards among them are efficient income generators early in the game.
[Commercial District], [Urbanized Area] and [Open City] requires no VP to break even.
[Copula City] and [Domed Crater] requires 1VP to break even.
The remaining 5 city cards all require 3+VP to break even, which is the same or worse than SP City.
[Immigrant City] might be played early in some situations, but all others are better as mid-late game VP sources.

Note that I have included the cost of energy production in both Sec.7.2.1 and 7.2.2.
If you can both use the energy for a while, then use the production for something else, the cost should not be counted twice.
So everything about becomes more efficient.

In fact, even if you only plan to use the energy production, it's a good idea to get that a few generations before you actually use it.
The heat you get in between, if you have other heat productions, can also compensate the cost.


7.3 Security Fleet:

I will still count the value of 1 Titanium as 2M, as estimated in section 2.2.
[Security Fleet] = 12M + 3M, and turns 2M to 1VP (5M) every usage.
It requires 5 usages to break even.
Also note that for 10M you can get a Titanium Production instead of 5 Titanium, which are exactly the same for 5 usages.


7.4 Greenish Tags:

These tags are more or less related to each other by a few cards.

7.4.1: Plants:

There are 19 cards with plan tags.
18 of them are green cards, all give plants, plants productions, or greenery tiles.
They all roughly have the average efficiency, thus all worth playing early in the game.
The only concern is that you do not want to have a little plant production.
Due to the risk of destruction, none or 3+ seems more reliable.

The only 1 blue card here, [Arctic Algae], is a must-keep-must-play almost all the time.
[Protected Habitats] has no plant tag, but it is the most powerful combo with any plant cards.

4 cards with Microbes actually produces Plants, and are all worth playing except for [Worms], which is situational.


7.4.2: Microbes

Among 7 once-per-generation Microbes, 5 adds tokens to themselves, 2 cards add to another card.
Here is a chart of how many generations you need to break even (get 1VP per 5M).


|On its own|[Symbiotic Fungus]|[Extreme-Cold Fungus]|
[Tardigrades] | 4-8 | 6 | 6-7 |
[Nitrite...] | 1-5 | 3 | 3 |
[Ants] | 4-6 | 4 | 4 |
[GHG...] | 3 | 3 | 3 |
[Regolith...] | 3-6 | 3 | 3 |


I assume you start operating both cards together.
Rounded to the closest integer, or use 2 numbers if it is either below or exceeds 1VP/5M.

Note that the Fungii never improve the break-even time.
However, after the break-even time, they allow you to get extra benefit extremely efficiently.
With [Extreme-Cold Fungus], [GHG] or [Regolith] is basically 1 TR per generation.
If you instead us it for plants, you need 7 generations to break even.


7.4.3: Animals:

5 once-per-generation animal cards all have various requirements.
[Livestock] breaks even at 3 usages, while [Birds] and [Fish] are acceptable at even 2.
[Predators] breaks even at slightly more than 3.
[Small Animals] breaks even at 4 usages.


7.4.4: Joint Combos

There are 5 trigger cards.
[Pets] breaks even at 6 triggers (all cities), which almost always happens.
[Herbivores] breaks even at 5 external triggers (your greenery).
[Decomposer] breaks even at 5 external triggers. (your greenish tags)
[Ecological Zone] breaks even at 2 extra triggers. (your animal/plant tags)
[Viral Enhancers] improves the break-even time by 1 generation/trigger for everything else.

[Advanced Ecosystems] requires 1 of each tags, and it gives 3VP at 14M.

There are 5 events that gives you extra Plants/Animals/Microbes.
3 of them allows you to choose plants or others.
They break even if you choose plants, and gains 5M+ (1VP+) if you have places for Animals/Microbes.


7.5 Science Tags:

There are 8 cards that require Science Tags.


Name |Req|Benefit |
Plantation | 2 | 1M |
Tectonic... | 2 | 5M |
AI Central | 3 | bad |
Lightning... | 3 | 6M |
Gene Repair | 3 | 5M+1Tag |
Quantum... | 4 | 12M+1Tag+ |
Mass Conv... | 5 | 31M+1Tag+ |
Interstellar.. | 5 | (-7M) |
Anti-Gravity.. | 7 | (-2M) |


The "benefit" is calculated as how much saving you get compared to the average price from cards.
+1Tag means that the card provides another science tag, which may not be useful since you already have so many.
A final "+" implies extra minor benefit from the card.
Note that the last 2 cards give mostly VP.
Thus, even if they are slightly below the 1VP/5M rate, might still be worth playing by the end of the game.

There are 25 cards that provide Science Tags.

In 5 of them, the tag is essentially "free", or very cheap.
[Natural Preserve], [Fusion Power], [Robotic Workforce], [Designed Microorganisms], and [Research] because it gives 2 tags.
Using them will be as efficient as any other cards, and the potential reward from Science tag is entirely a bonus.

In 4 of them, the tag is hugely over-priced:
[Development Center], [Adaptation Technology], [Restricted Area], and [Inventers'Guild].
These are highly situation and should usually be avoided.

Among the remaining 16, 7 of them offers a tag at 3-5M, and 9 of them have variable rewards which are sometimes good enough.


7.6 Drawing Cards:

The value of a useless card is always 1M, since you are just going to sell it.
On the other hand, the value of a useful card depends strongly on the situation.

Early in the game, players are usually in the card rich situation.
That basically means that you have many cards you want to play, and not enough budget to play them right away.
In this case, the value of a useful card is determined by its cost.
Keeping a useful card during reseach cost you 3M, thus a useful card is worth 3M.
Assuming a 50% chance for a card to be useful, the average value of a card is 2M in the card rich situation.

Later in the game, some players might enter the card poor situation.
You have more than enough resources to play any card you get.
In this case, the value of a useful card is determined by its effect, which is 7M.
3M for getting this card, and 4M for allowing you to do something with 4M less than SP.

For convenient, I will again assume a 50% chance for a card to be useful.
Relatively speaking, this is an over-estimation.
Income-heavy cards are useful early in the game, but they are no longer as good later in the game.
However, the 7M value is also a slight under-estimation.
On top of doing something similar to SP with a 4M discount, cards can do a few things that SP cannot.
Most important among those are the Builder Milestone, the Banker Award, and the Scientist Award.
Since both of these effects are hard to quantify, let's say the under-estimation and over-estimation cancel each other.
Thus, the average value of a card is then 4M in the card poor situation.

There are 6 cards that can give you cards per generation.
All of them have science symbols, and it's either impossible or very unlikely to break even in the card poor situation.
I will only discuss how soon they break even in the card rich situation.
The uncertainty comes from whether that science tag is useful for you.

[AI Central] breaks even in 3 generations.
[Development Center] breaks even in 4-5 generations.
[Restricted Area] breaks even in 3-4 generations.
[Inventer's Guild] breaks even in 4-6 generations.
[Olympus Conference] breaks even at 2-6 triggers.
[Mars University] breaks even at 1-2 triggers.

Note that sometimes you can enter a card poor situation quite early by having a good income engine and nothing else.
Also, the chance that a card is useful is higher when it is earlier in a game.
So, in those situations, the value of drawing a card can be even higher than 4M on average.
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
I want to pay my respect for an excellent system analysis / reverse engineering. Great mathematical approach, sound logic throughout all argumentation and very well written.

I see one problem though. I think you did not account for synergies among played project cards. Therefore you are giving the SP a higher value than they actually have. Especially if the meta game is engine focused.

Nevertheless, a great piece of work you contributed here!
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
Solid article about raw numbers. But all the sinergies and EVs for corps, boards and scenarios are way beyond that.
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Dmytro Lisnichenko
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
Didn't count properly, but I had a "feeling" that VP costs around 4M.
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karel pepiku
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
Jingking wrote:
4.4 Ocean Bonus.

Placing near an Ocean gets you 2M back.
Thus, if you can us SP Ocean or Greenery and place the tile next to 2 Oceans, that negates what you overpaid.
I believe this statement is not true. Because if you place a given tile by card/plant cubes, you also get the placement bonus, so the difference between SP and playing by cards/plant cubes remains the same.



I have a general comment regarding your analysis. It works perfectly if you work in an unlimited unrestricted scenario. However, in TM one is obviously limited by the three factors (temp, oceans, O2), that cannot be raised anymore once they are fulfilled. You are also restricted by actions of your opponents, that may hurt or benefit you, and by cards that you actually have. Even SPs are not unlimited, because the map can accommodate only a finite number of forests and cities. I fully understand that under such circumstances it is impossible to evaluate the exact cost of anything before the final resolution. In case of VP-producing cards you are trying to bypass the problem by calculating the number of generation that are needed to reach the goal of 1VP/5MC, which I found elegant.
I lack this comment when you are mentioning the projects that allows you to get cards. As I mentioned before, your analysis is correct if you work in an unlimited scenario, which is also "card-rich", i.e. when you have enough good cards to play to reach your 1VP/5MC target value. However, when you are in a "card-poor" regime, i.e. you do not have enough good cards to play, getting new cards may become more valuable than playing SPs, but of course it depends on luck when you draw them. In the same vein, part of the cost of the restricted area may be covered by placing near oceans or by placing it next to cities of your opponents.


To sum it up, I think your analysis is fine for a basic pre-evaluation of project values and is more-or-less valid for first few generations, when the board is essentially unlimited. But with the game progress, the actual values of projects become to deviate from your calculations and are pretty much affected by the crowding game board. And that is when the game stops being pure math and strategies of the players become relevant.

EDIT: By "unlimited" I mean "limited only by MC".
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I-Sheng Yang
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
karelpepiku wrote:
Jingking wrote:
4.4 Ocean Bonus.

Placing near an Ocean gets you 2M back.
Thus, if you can us SP Ocean or Greenery and place the tile next to 2 Oceans, that negates what you overpaid.
I believe this statement is not true. Because if you place a given tile by card/plant cubes, you also get the placement bonus, so the difference between SP and playing by cards/plant cubes remains the same.
Yes, you are right.
Anything you can do with SP can also be done by some cards, at even cheaper rate.
Thus my point should have been:
When this opportunity comes up, please consider snatching it with SP even if you don't have cards.
Don't let someone easily snatch it with cards.


That is actually the general spirit behind everything in Sec.4.
I will indeed emphasize that in an update.


karelpepiku wrote:

To sum it up, I think your analysis is fine for a basic pre-evaluation of project values and is more-or-less valid for first few generations, when the board is essentially unlimited. But with the game progress, the actual values of projects become to deviate from your calculations and are pretty much affected by the crowding game board. And that is when the game stops being pure math and strategies of the players become relevant.
I completely agree, and that is actually my intention.
The raw value evaluation is for first few generations, as you nicely put as an "unlimited" environment, both in cards and spaces.
I will try to stress that in an update.
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
I like the number crunching here.

As a minor nitpick, you should probably fix the title of the thread. It should probably say "Guide" and not "Guild".
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Re: A Quantified Guild to TM Strategy
Great analysis, great piece of reverse engineering.

One point which I like to point out is that you provide guidelines by which we can see whether fanmade player corps are roughly in balance with the standard ones. That helps to build better fan material.
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Scott Seifert
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Use c tags (quote this post).

|On its own|[Symbiotic Fungus]|[Extreme-Cold Fungus]|
[Tardigrades] | 4-8 | 6 | 6-7 |
[Nitrite...] | 1-5 | 3 | 3 |
[Ants] | 4-6 | 4 | 4 |
[GHG...] | 3 | 3 | 3 |
[Regolith...] | 3-6 | 3 | 3 |

Name |Req|Benefit |
Plantation | 2 | 1M |
Tectonic... | 2 | 5M |
AI Central | 3 | bad |
Lightning... | 3 | 6M |
Gene Repair | 3 | 5M+1Tag |
Quantum... | 4 | 12M+1Tag+ |
Mass Conv... | 5 | 31M+1Tag+ |
Interstellar.. | 5 | (-7M) |
Anti-Gravity.. | 7 | (-2M) |
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I-Sheng Yang
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Big thanks to bakija and golden_cow2.
Updated the title typo and the charts for much better readability.
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Jingking wrote:
Big thanks to bakija and golden_cow2.
Updated the title typo and the charts for much better readability.
Awesome job - most impressive!
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Kevin Brown
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Quote:
An SP City gives you 4M (Placement Bonus) + 5M (1M income) = 9M.
Thus, if you place it near 3 Greenery Tiles, you break even.
This does not happen often early in the game though.
The greenery doesn't actually have to be there when the city is placed. Placing a city next to two greenery then dropping a third greenery adjacent to it on a later action is the same as placing it next to three greenery to start with.
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Ido Abelman
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pilight wrote:
Quote:
An SP City gives you 4M (Placement Bonus) + 5M (1M income) = 9M.
Thus, if you place it near 3 Greenery Tiles, you break even.
This does not happen often early in the game though.
The greenery doesn't actually have to be there when the city is placed. Placing a city next to two greenery then dropping a third greenery adjacent to it on a later action is the same as placing it next to three greenery to start with.
Not exactly the same. If you place a city next to N existing greeneries, you just earned N points from the greeneries, by spending no money but the worth of the city itself. If you build a greenery later, you spent the cost of a greenery too to get the extra point. People often say that greeneries are worth 3 points when placed next to a city with non-full oxygen track. However you count that point as given to you by the city as well. Effectively you count the same point twice, leading to a bit of overestimation of the cities and greeneries. I say that if you had to put both the city and the greenery yourself, each of them earned you maybe half a point. Only if you didn't put the greenery yourself you can say the city earned you a point by itself.
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I-Sheng Yang
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CBpegasus wrote:
pilight wrote:
Quote:
An SP City gives you 4M (Placement Bonus) + 5M (1M income) = 9M.
Thus, if you place it near 3 Greenery Tiles, you break even.
This does not happen often early in the game though.
The greenery doesn't actually have to be there when the city is placed. Placing a city next to two greenery then dropping a third greenery adjacent to it on a later action is the same as placing it next to three greenery to start with.
Not exactly the same. If you place a city next to N existing greeneries, you just earned N points from the greeneries, by spending no money but the worth of the city itself. If you build a greenery later, you spent the cost of a greenery too to get the extra point. People often say that greeneries are worth 3 points when placed next to a city with non-full oxygen track. However you count that point as given to you by the city as well. Effectively you count the same point twice, leading to a bit of overestimation of the cities and greeneries. I say that if you had to put both the city and the greenery yourself, each of them earned you maybe half a point. Only if you didn't put the greenery yourself you can say the city earned you a point by itself.
Indeed, if you plan to build all those cities and greeneries yourself, you can alter the order as long as you do not double-count.

A specific example is Tharsis.
After your first free city, you can do Greenery-Greenery-City, and all of them breaks even.
However, since City is effectively cheaper and gives you more income, you might want to do City-Greenery-Greenery instead.

There is a risk though.
Other players might take the "planned" greenery spots from you.
Recall that both [Urbanized Area] and [Commercial District] are both good income generators.
You have just created two juicy spots for them.

As I said, 1M income 1 generation earlier is just 1M extra.
I am usually too paranoid to take such risk.

 
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Bill Collins
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Lots of effort in that analysis. Thanks for taking the time to put it together for us. It dovetails with a lot of what I see here nicely, and gives useful values for actions. Of course, the one thing it can't quite measure is shock effect. When you drop Deimos Down on someone who isn't expecting it, that's priceless...
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I-Sheng Yang
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Another update.

*Minor rearrangement between Section 1 and 2.
Also emphasize that the values are best for evaluation in the first few generations, responding to karelpepiku.

*Added a paragraph to explain that the values of “variable” cards have be calculated on the run. Thanks to RobAntilles.

*Added a few paragraphs to emphasize that everything you can do without cards can also be done with cards. Thus the point is to not letting them done by cards without proper competition. Thanks to karelpepiku.

Section 4.3 is expanded with the following example.

Jingling wrote:

For example, does Ecoline win a lot in your group?
It does in the statistics here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1654557/help-needed-lets-co...
Maybe you want to ask yourself:
Does Ecoline always ``naturally’’ get the Gardener Milestone?
That absolutely should not happen.
As shown above, almost any Corporation can get Gardener by generation 3.
Ecoline needs (7-2)+(7-2)+7 - 2*2 - 3 = 10 extra plants to be able to use its ability 3 times by generation 3, which is not too easy.
Thus Ecoline should not be guaranteed the Gardener, or needs be somewhat paranoid and at least SP Greenery once to secure it.
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ryusora wrote:
Solid article about raw numbers. But all the sinergies and EVs for corps, boards and scenarios are way beyond that.
Without fail, some jerk always posts a comment like this on any quality analysis article. "Your post was 20 pages long and probably took you 10 hours, but you didnt talk about every possible interaction. It shouldve been 2000 pages long and 99% of it filled with stuff no one will bother reading".
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Alex Rockwell
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Excellent article!

The only thing I think I disagree with is this:

Jingking wrote:

3.1: You don’t have to build an income engine.

The cards that actually give you 1VP for 5M are quite rare.
The most common thing to get is a TR, which forces you to combine a VP and an Income.
Later in the game, income becomes useless, and you are still happy to spend 10M just for the VP.

Now, imagine that you spend 5M to increase 1M income.
If your game lasts for 10 generations (can definitely be shorter!), you get 10M back and will spend that 10M for 1VP in the end.
That’s nothing more than just spending 5M for 1VP in the beginning.

Thus, there is no such thing as “I must build income engine first” in this game.


First of all, its hard to achieve a 1 point per 5M efficiency, especially early on. Most of the ways to do this involve having lots of synergy (Which often involves buying and playing lots of cards). Also, you buy the cards that let you do this and hold onto them until near them in, and then cash them in to buy your points.

On T1-3 or so if you spend money on income, youll get enough return over the course of the game that youll be able to buy the VPs you couldve bought, plus slightly more (even in an 8 turn game). Especially if your income is steel or titanium, and you are able to spend them, as they are more efficient to buy than megacredit income it, in terms of the number of turns needed to pay back. Additionally, the income sources you buy tend to also help you win certain endgame awards like banker, miner, etc, so they provide extra benefit. Even a 'breakeven' income card that helps you win banker provides net benefit.

Finally, by being the engine builder, you dont have the onus to end the game that an 'aggro' point rusher player has. The aggro player might need to make inefficient actions like standard project asteroid to end the game, paying 14 per point on the final turn, while you play higher efficiency cards. The aggro player might have to choose between playing his more efficient cards or ending the game, knowing that if he doesnt end it, every turn helps you gain on him. This effect is more pronounced with less players, of course! Its an especially big deal in 2 player, in my experience.


Regarding Terraforming Rating increases, these are reasonably efficient even on turn 1. Not as efficient as a pure income card, but probably ~80% as efficient. So you shouldnt feel bad doing them as part of your 'gain income' strategy, especially if done efficiently through cards.


Regarding types of income, on turn 1 my focus is to gain Megacredits, Steel, and/or Titanium production. I dont focus on gaining Plants, Energy, or Heat production on turn 1, unless it is very efficient or with leftover money, or the energy production is going to give me something useful that converts into other income like a city card or activating a steelworks or something. This is because the M, Steel, and Titanium income will be able to snowball for several turns, buying more income, before we reach the midgame period around turn 4 or so where buying income is no longer more efficient than doing other things. (This turn # can vary slightly based on player count and meta, but its probably around 3-5 almost always).

On turn 1, I math out the maximum amount of income I can gain (counting steel as 2, titanium as 3, megacredit as 1). If tied, the method that also gains some other benefit or type of production. Then, I will calculate how much money I need in order to buy those cards, and whether I have money left over. If I have leftover money, I will use to to buy and hold onto useful cards that I will play later in the game. If the money needed to buy the most income on turn 1 is exact, I will painfully discard those extra cards and just build the income. In cases where I can sacrifice a small amount of income for great synergy I'd do that, but not usually. Its almost always correct to build as much income on turn 1 of the monetary resources (MC=1, Steel=2, Titanium=3). Note that any TR bump should be counter as a megacredit income bump. And if there is a tie between different options, its slightly worse to make a steel than 2MC, or to make titanium than 3MC, because its harder to spend.



A note: The primary thing that IS point efficient to go for early (over income), is rushing for milestones. (However, its only worth rushing if the rush was required to get it. Its better to get an award midgame after buying income first, than to have to rush for it. But its better to rush for it, than to not get it at all).

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Alexfrog wrote:
ryusora wrote:
Solid article about raw numbers. But all the sinergies and EVs for corps, boards and scenarios are way beyond that.
Without fail, some jerk always posts a comment like this on any quality analysis article. "Your post was 20 pages long and probably took you 10 hours, but you didnt talk about every possible interaction. It shouldve been 2000 pages long and 99% of it filled with stuff no one will bother reading".


I think it's always a valuable perspective to keep in mind, to fend off misunderstanding its value, esp. any reactions like, "This analysis betrayed me because I took it too literally and lost because of it."
 
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Alexfrog wrote:
Excellent article!On T1-3 or so if you spend money on income, youll get enough return over the course of the game that youll be able to buy the VPs you couldve bought, plus slightly more (even in an 8 turn game). Especially if your income is steel or titanium, and you are able to spend them, as they are more efficient to buy than megacredit income it, in terms of the number of turns needed to pay back.
So, you are saying the game is mostly luck...

Those who do not get the requisite cards in the first handful of turns are dead meat from the start, and the remainder get to play until they drop out of the competition one by one for lack of cards.
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Thanks for the compliment and comment, Alex.
Never had a chance to thank you for your amazing PR strategy guide.

Alexfrog wrote:

On T1-3 or so if you spend money on income, youll get enough return over the course of the game that youll be able to buy the VPs you couldve bought, plus slightly more (even in an 8 turn game). Especially if your income is steel or titanium, and you are able to spend them, as they are more efficient to buy than megacredit income it, in terms of the number of turns needed to pay back. Additionally, the income sources you buy tend to also help you win certain endgame awards like banker, miner, etc, so they provide extra benefit. Even a 'breakeven' income card that helps you win banker provides net benefit.
I am not completely disagreeing.
Actually, I should have stated clearly that I was focusing on 4er and 5er.
For 2er, I completely agree with Alexfrog.
The game will be long, and income is obviously important in the beginning.

1. I am not against getting income.
It is just not my first consideration while selecting initial cards.


My first consideration is the simplified efficiency.
Take a card, add up the value of what it gives you, according to Sec.1.
Then divide by the cost +3M for keeping the card.
Since Sec.1 is just the average value, there are still some significant fluctuations.
Furthermore, there are cards with variable rewards which depends on your corporation and visible synergy.
Thus, the 10 cards will usually have a pretty clear hierarchy of efficiencies.
My priority is to keep the most efficient ones.
If I can spend 15M on a card (or a combination of cards) to get a 20M worth of "stuffs", I will keep it.
I won't care too much if that 20M is made up by 100% VP (4VP), half-half (2VP 2 Income), or all (4) Income.

On the other hand, if I have to spend 15M for 2 Income, that's a big no no.

After making the hierarchy of efficiency, I calculate the budget I have.
Hopefully, all cards that give more than 50% income can be played in generation 1, and any card that has a nonzero fraction of income can be played in generation 2.
I will start to keep from the most efficient cards, stop when budget becomes a problem or when I reach the average efficiency, whichever happens first.
When I have to choose between two cards to make the budget work and they are equally efficient, I will keep the one with more income.
But usually it will not come to this.


2. Although it is probably a different principle, the result will not be too different from what Alex suggested.

This is because we are selecting from 10 cards, drawn from a finite set.
We are bounded by the combination of cards.
Only some very specific situations will make the final card selection different, which does not happen very often.

Alexfrog wrote:

Regarding Terraforming Rating increases, these are reasonably efficient even on turn 1. Not as efficient as a pure income card, but probably ~80% as efficient. So you shouldnt feel bad doing them as part of your 'gain income' strategy, especially if done efficiently through cards.
Many cards give an even mix of Income/VP just like TR.
If they come in a good price, you will be keeping them no matter whose advice you follow.


3. The underlying logic is similar.

Alexfrog wrote:

This is because the M, Steel, and Titanium income will be able to snowball for several turns, buying more income, before we reach the midgame period around turn 4 or so where buying income is no longer more efficient than doing other things.
Indeed the income, if can be reinvested soon, will snowball your economy.
For the same reason, any money you "save" early, will also snowball your economy.
Following a "maximum efficiency" selection rule is seeking to save the most early cash to get the economy going.


4. Some differences on various resource productions.

I believe Alexfrog and I start from the same principle:
Early production is good if the products are useful.
The difference is in how we estimate whether something will be useful.

Steel:
I will keep and play any Steel production as long as they cost less than 10M.
There are many Building cards, so Steel is as good as 2M.
Some building cards may not be too efficient, especially if drawn later in the game.
However, they are usually cheap and help toward builder, so Steels are usually useful.

Titanium:
I will only keep Titanium production if I already see a way to use at least one of the Titanium I produce.
That is because there are less Space cards, and quite a lot of them are pretty expensive and inefficient if drawn later in the game.
Maybe I am paranoid from my experience of bad luck in cards, but I really don't like gambling on Titanium.

Plants:
If I can see myself having 3 Plant production, I will be happy with as many as possible, if they come at the reasonable cost. (they usually do).
If I only see 1 Plant production, then it's just idle plants waiting to be killed, I will instead spend my money on something else.
2 production is tricky, it depends on the situation.

Energy:
Even if I don't see a card that uses energy, I will try to keep 1 energy production card at cost <7, if budget allows.
If not, it's fine.
There are quite many good cards that uses energy or energy production.
So keeping this card is very likely saving 4M for you.

Heat:
I will get heat production at its fair price if I can get 4 or more.
That means a temperature at generation 3, which sometimes can still get the bonus heat production.
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Maybe I missed it, but how valuable is drawing a card? Do you have to back-calculate from Inventrix?
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Victor Ferreira
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TheUbiquitous wrote:
Maybe I missed it, but how valuable is drawing a card? Do you have to back-calculate from Inventrix?
No, there are tons of cards that it's easy enough to work from. The easiest is probably Lagrange Observatory vs Trans-Neptunian Probe. There's some variance, but drawing a card is usually worth ~3.
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Sonny A.
Denmark
Copenhagen
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mbmbmbmbmb
Jingking wrote:

1 Energy Production: 7M
1 Temperature Increase: 10M
1 Ocean Tile: 14M

1 Heat Production: 6M
1 Plant Production: 10M
1 Terraforming Rating (TR): 10M
1 Victory Point (VP): 5M
1 M Income: 5M
1 Steel Production: 8M
1 Titanium Production: 10M

1 Plant = 1 Steel = 1 Titanium = 1 card = 2 Heat = 2M = 1/2 Tile Placement
By this table, Strip Mine is great value?

It's worth 46 M€ "income" at the cost of 42 M€ "expenses"
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I-Sheng Yang
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Twilight_Sonata wrote:
TheUbiquitous wrote:
Maybe I missed it, but how valuable is drawing a card? Do you have to back-calculate from Inventrix?
No, there are tons of cards that it's easy enough to work from. The easiest is probably Lagrange Observatory vs Trans-Neptunian Probe. There's some variance, but drawing a card is usually worth ~3.
Yeah, it's close to 2 or 3.
I count them as 2, thus for me most of the cards that give you cards are a bit overpriced, except for a few like [Research] due to its 2 Science Tags.
Especially those that allows you to draw at usage/triggers.
They will take a long time to break even.

However, as someone mentioned, this is only accurate in somewhat card-rich/budget-limited situations.
When you have tons of income and always run out of cards to play, they might be more useful.
It is hard to estimate that though.
 
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