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We've released our second episode of SCPT! And since last week, we've made it available at many more places, so if you like the show, please subscribe on your podcast app of choice (and continue letting us know if it isn't available on your favorite app!)

This week, Matt Martens and Hunter Donaldson discuss the Construction and Warfare Strategy Cards, as well as the basics behind production and combat. They go over The Arborec, The Clan of Saar, The Barony of Letnev, Sardakk N'orr, The Yin Brotherhood, and The L1z1x Mindnet. Stay tuned after the show for some Episode 1 Errata as well!

We'd love to hear what you have to say about this episode, so let us know if there are any points you agree with or if there's anything in our discussion that we missed! This project is already proving to be incredibly fun to do, and that's almost entirely because of our discussions with you all!
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Musashi Daryl
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Maybe i misheard you and you have a clear understanding of the sardakk N'orr. But just to make clear, it's not like the the yin brotherhood, with the yin you assign a hit, with the sardakk you destroy two ships.

I like having a T.I podcast but i wonder if my group is weird or something because i disagree a lot with your different analysis based on my group gaming history.

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Matt Martens
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MusashiDaryl wrote:
Maybe i misheard you and you have a clear understanding of the sardakk N'orr. But just to make clear, it's not like the the yin brotherhood, with the yin you assign a hit, with the sardakk you destroy two ships.


You're absolutely right, we misread the card. This is doubly upsetting because it means Yin is even worse. Sardakk do Yin's ability about 4x better than Yin.


MusashiDaryl wrote:
I like having a T.I podcast but i wonder if my group is weird or something because i disagree a lot with your different analysis based on my group gaming history.


Then we'd definitely love to hear more from you! We absolutely accept that our style of play is not the only one out there, but it's the only one we can represent. What other points do you feel your group would oppose our opinions?
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Scott Lewis
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Skootur wrote:
MusashiDaryl wrote:
Maybe i misheard you and you have a clear understanding of the sardakk N'orr. But just to make clear, it's not like the the yin brotherhood, with the yin you assign a hit, with the sardakk you destroy two ships.


You're absolutely right, we misread the card. This is doubly upsetting because it means Yin is even worse. Sardakk do Yin's ability about 4x better than Yin.

Except Yin can use their abilty from the start, Sardakk have to research relatively deeply to get their ability.

Plus, Yin can use cheaper ships to kamikaze with.
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Matt Martens
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But the difference here is (and the one I was hoping to make) is the Yin can destroy one destroyer for one destroyer or cruiser, Sardakk can destroy one Dreadnought to kill two Dreadnoughts or War Suns. This is the kind of trade off Yin's ability needs to be good. You need to get MORE out of your self-destruction than you end up losing.

We'll definitely hit on this topic more on next weeks Errata, so please keep the discussion going. I knew when we finished talking about Yin, we weren't going to be done. I'm dying to hear opposing opinions.
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Scott Lewis
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I think it's unfair to make a direct comparison. I don't think Yin's ability, as a starting ability, needs to be as strong. N'orr's is very strong, yes, but it isn't cheap to get (or use), whereas Yin's is very cheap to use and can still cause quite a bit of damage (especially paired with Direct Hit).
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Michael Bomholt
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don't forget that the yin received a HUGE buff by getting the suicide flagship.
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Musashi Daryl
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As i was reacting, i hadn't finish to listening the show.

The errata part is very good and interesting.

I think the style of play, depend a lot of the house you used to rules in TI3 (nobody have a lot of house rule or experience of play in TI4).

For example the creation of the galaxy with us, is a draft of tiles.

The tiles have been organized by planets, red system and void systems wich we shuffle randomly, so we can have a specific number of each.

Then like any game of T.I we roll the dice. the higher score get to chose is place, then the second choose where he is seated (it's strategic and metastrategic, sometimes you don't want to start next to a specific player.)

First player get to choose strategy card and is first to put tile in the galaxy but get to chose last of the pile of tile of the draft (but get two in a row). The drafting goes in clockwise and unclockwise like catan, and so the position you choose determine when you get to choose your galaxy tile, and when you get to choose your strategy card for the first round.

We also like to put some face down system to equidistance of home system player, add some spice to the game.

This construction is less random and everyone can plan classic pie or agressive creation of the galaxy or a mix.

So we never ever swap tile after the galaxy creation, or use preset map, and the creation of the galaxy is view by us like a very important and strategic aspect of the game.

I liked a lot the new galaxy creation rule of TI4, but we already discuss blending our house rules with the new ones to make a perfect one (for us).

I know this message is too long, but i think also that the xccha (my favorites race) ability is a pretty good advantage the first round is the most important one, the one with the highest probability of making hits, so having -1 on first round, make difficult the fight.for the opponent.

I also think the xccha are not a turtling race (but maybe i'm weird, they are space turltes after all), i played this race like 20+ times and almost always play agressive style, i evend make blocus of space dock on home system on round one.

I will try to make other constructive remark after relistening the two shows and continue make publicity in france for your podcast because it's great.

PS : the Sardakk exotrireme MKII is also very strong in the "you'll never gone take that planet formula". The creuss and the Yin, can take your carrier first round and it's pretty horrible. But you can always plan and bring two carrier and split your infantry. But the Sardakk can take down two carrier with this power, it's really strong even without the huge warsun deal.
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Michael Bomholt
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I love hearing other people talk about the game. Different play groups have entirely different assumptions about races and strengths and the balance of the game.
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Matt Martens
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blarknob wrote:
don't forget that the yin received a HUGE buff by getting the suicide flagship.


I don't know that it is a huge buff. Again, what do you gain for using that flagship? Yes, when used correctly, you're going to wipe out a big force. But you aren't taking any of the planets those ships were protecting. Any additional strategy takes time (play warfare to attack the system again; use another fleet to now charge past that newly opened up system tile into a more vulnerable position [assuming you have the movement to go that far]), and can be potentially blocked by any opponent. You aren't achieving objectives with the flagship, you're only wiping out other fleets. Making THAT pay dividends is the very very tricky part, imo.
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Musashi Daryl
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This flagship is huge, and i hate it (and love it in the same time).

The nekro virus of TI3 were the favorite race of my fiancé and the main raison is their flagship.

This flagship can slow down really hard a player progression, you can't ignore him, specially if you have a big fleet in preparation for a big move to swap a lot of vp, you can't either try to take it down with a too small force, because if you fail, not only you lose a small fleet but you are still threaten in your plan with the unmoved flagship.

If you are really in the lead, even if you take it down with some fleet, the importance of slowing you down can make the player rebuild the flagship on the same turn.

I don't know well if this flagship gonna fit mechanically with the yin (thematically it's perfect).

But i know it's a pretty strong one.
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Barnaby Alsop
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Thanks for the podcast - nice to hear your take on the new stuff. A couple of things;
This might seem like nit-picking but you might want to brush up on the older TI races a little bit before you podcast (or maybe grab the race sheets?)- you described a number of their abilities inaccurately (case in point being the Letnev racial power) It makes comparisons easier if the differences are highlighted precisely.
Rant over 😊
Second point in regards to the Yin. I like to think of their special power as giving all their Destroyers and Cruisers an uncounterable "Direct Hit" action card. You said yourselves how scary the card is - well, the Yin get them from the start - before any action cards are drawn - I'd call that solid.
But the big thing you missed is the fact that the Yin get a nifty 4/4 home system now - good for production and voting - a big improvement.
And their flagship is an insane boost. A player's bargaining chip is often a massive fleet - but now the Yin don't care. I'm pretty sure in TI4 no-one will want to tangle with them for fear of this ship and many will give up Mecatol Rex just to escape the 'flying H-bomb'.
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Daniel Grant
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Thanks for the new episode! I really enjoyed it.

It struck me that the Yin may not be as terrible as you think. They seem like they might function nicely as anti-L1Z1X and anti-Letnev forces. Cranking out a massive Yin Ball of Destroyers should give L1Z1X and Letnev serious pause if they are a Dreadnought and Fighter heavy fleet.

Granted, being "anti" anything doesn't necessarily make them good at anything. But Destroyers only cost 1 Resource and it shouldn't be too hard to work up a huge Yin Ball. Similar to the Saar, I think the key is having a huge Fleet.

If I were playing Yin, I'd work up a huge Yin Ball to clear my path for a smaller force of Carriers, Fighters, and Infantry. Save some Influence planets for the ground assaults. For Yin it seems to be all about smashing mightier forces down via a war of attrition.
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Matt Martens
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Prelate wrote:
Thanks for the podcast - nice to hear your take on the new stuff. A couple of things;
This might seem like nit-picking but you might want to brush up on the older TI races a little bit before you podcast (or maybe grab the race sheets?)- you described a number of their abilities inaccurately (case in point being the Letnev racial power) It makes comparisons easier if the differences are highlighted precisely.
Rant over 😊

It's a fair critique and something we deserve to be called out for. Our original hope was to spend most of the time talking about the new races and not spending as much time explaining old powers. But inevitably, as avid TI3 players, we found ourselves talking about them. What's funny is I have my TI box right next to our recording space and could EASILY have been fact checking ourselves as we went, but we were frankly too lazy and excited about getting to the meat of our TI4 discussions. We'll try to do better in the future (but also, to be honest, we've already recorded the next couple episodes, so this problem may persist for just a bit)

Prelate wrote:

But the big thing you missed is the fact that the Yin get a nifty 4/4 home system now - good for production and voting - a big improvement.

We'll talk about a lot of Yin things in next week's errata, but this point is one I can make quickly. I disagree that it very useful. In TI3, the Yin had the ability to flip one planet's resources/influence, and early game this was always the obvious choice. So, you always had 4 resources at your disposal if you wanted them, and since you can never take advantage of BOTH resources and influence, I find the point to be moot. I think because they removed that ability, the designers found it NECESSARY to boost the planet to 4/4, otherwise Yin would have one of the weakest home systems in the game.
 
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Jatta Pake wrote:
Granted, being "anti" anything doesn't necessarily make them good at anything.

I think this is what rattles around in my head constantly when I discuss the Yin. I agree their abilities have power, and are mathematically beneficial, I just don't see my path to victory through the use of that strategy. It could be because of my style as a player, or my inability to take the right kinds of risks, but any game where I've attempted what seems like the logical Yin strategy, my fleet supply hasn't been able to keep up, and battles end up costing me too much. Sure, I'm able to take out some other super power, but 2nd place just becomes 1st, and I'm left trailing behind.
 
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Daniel Grant
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I'm going to make an argument for the Yin, but I don't know if it will hold any water.

Yin start with Sarween Tools which basically gives the a free Destroyer each time they produce units. If they grab Graviton Laser Systems, they now have the pre-reqs for their Faction tech Impulse Core. If they grab the Technology card on Turn 1, they can have Impulse Core that turn. This sets them up to get Integrated Economy on Turn 2!

A Yin Destroyer Ball is now guaranteed two hits on non-fighter ships, with the first happening before the first shot is fired. Huge intimidation factor.

Now add a Carrier with Infantry to the Yin Ball. With Integrated Economy, the Yin can replace all of their lost Destroyers immediately after rolling into a system and taking a planet. PDS aren't a big deal, let the Destroyers soak up the damage. With a 4 Influence home planet, one of the enemy ground forces are joining the Holy cause of the Yin.

If the Yin get their other tech Yin Spinners and they pick up Transit Diodes, their free Infantry can shuttle around defensively.

What do you think?

Edit: And the only defense against a Yin Ball is to add Destroyers to your fleet. This royally screws lean and mean Dreadnought fleets as it eats up CCs with a garbage unit whose only purpose is to be a shield against the Yin attacks.

Edit 2: And Yin Destroyer Balls have a move of two. Dreadnought fleets aren't going to our run them.

Edit 3: In the late game, the Yin can augment the Ball with Cruiser 2s. Those will add some firepower and carry infantry without slowing down the Ball.
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Pedro Rosmaninho
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For me the most valuable trade-off right away is destroyer for carrier + cargo. I think if you are aggressive in the first rounds and pump out some destroyers and a couple of cruisers (cheap) you can shut down transportation (aka expansion) of neighbour players. It could also work as pre-emptive manoeuvre since no one spends CC attacking when they can't invade (kill the carriers kill the ground forces) even if they win the battle. This would of course increase the trade aspect of 1 resource destroyer vs potential 6 resource full carrier (not mentioning production cap resource - 7 units is a full production action)

Also, regarding the flagship it's basically a nuke vs stationary targets like mecatol rex fleets. Just send it and clear the system. Or as a defender vs big fleets with your medium / small fleet filled with cheap destroyers.

Anyway, I really appreciate your effort and found the podcast entertaining and valuable as it showcases different opinions of several game aspects. If it allows for further discussion even better!
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I also want to chime in on Yin.. Don't forget that the yin can while defending from an invasion attempt easily take out cruisers carrying gifs and even better carriers full of ground forces. In my eyes that's a big deterrent for others trying to attack you.

While their former reversing ability to swap resource value with influence was great, it was often difficult to make use with the secondary of production as you had to spend an action to do so and in the case of your initiative value being in the lower half of the field you wouldn't get the opportunity before production was used.

Overall I would take a 4/4 home system is value over a w/4 even though MR would potentially net you a better result

Edit.. you beat me to it Pedro!
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Pedro Rosmaninho
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Hehe. It was basically a draw as far as I'm concerned

Also, I found it interesting you guys mentioning the statistical probability increase of the N'orr +1 ability. I don't have the time right now to make a full analysis but it would seem obvious that it benefits more the smaller ships (Fighters, Destroyers, Cruisers, GF) and less the big capital ships (Dreadnoughts and War Suns).

Fighter 9 (8) - from a 20% hit chance to 30% (a 50% increase in value)
Carrier 9 (8) - from a 20% hit chance to 30% (a 50% increase in value)
Destroyer 9 (8) - from a 20% hit chance to 30% (a 50% increase in value)
GF 8 (7) - from a 30% hit chance to 40% (a 33% increase in value)
Cruisers 7 (6) - from a 40% hit chance to 50% (a 25% increase in value)
Dreadnaught 5 (4) - from a 60% hit chance to 70% (a 16,7% increase in value)
War Sun 3 (2) - from a 80% hit chance to 90% (a 12,5% increase in value)

This means that you can immediately focus on smaller ships to start with, that require less resources and be be war-ready sooner while you have the advantage (+1 to all rolls makes your smaller ships much more efficient).

This also means that they could strike early and capitalize on that advantage. Only after securing an early planet lead (maybe even mecatol) start pumping those dreadnoughts and going for VPs. This also forces an arms race and prevents other players going full economic/greed since you make them acknowledge the threat of your fleet. Also it could lead to more TG through deals/trading to prevent you from attacking, even promissory notes. If they don't react appropriately you can probably knock out 1 of your neighbours really soon and take his piece of the pie. You should of course be careful of leader bashing so you should really try to ally and be super friendly (temporarily of course devil) with one of your neighbours so you have some political leverage.

With Exotrireme II tech you should ignore War Sun production, you won't have the time or money and you won't need it since you can blow up 2 war suns with 1 dreadnaught. The flag ship could be interesting as a medium-late game finisher where you could potentially have fighters II hitting with 6+ (50% chance to hit!). If you look at it the Exotrireme Tech has the pre-reqs of 2 blues and 1 yellow, meaning Sarween Tools (to help you pump out extra stuff in the beginning where every resource matters) and then up to Gravity Drive (give those cruisers and destroyers 3 Movement to strike anywhere in an instant). This also means that your special dreadnoughts will have 3 movement immediately if you go this route. Carrier II is also possible with just 2 blues (and would also get 3 movement). If you could grab a blue technology specialty planet it would be even more advantageous, so you could skip antimass deflectors to get to Graviton Drive, Exotrireme II and Carrier II faster.

Also, since they now have 2 carriers I consider them stronger than before in that early game (would trade 1 tech for 1 carrier and a couple of GF in the 1st turn), where you need to press your advantage.

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Jacob Williams
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Another great show guys! Keep them coming!

Regarding the Yin Brotherhood's suicide flag ship. I have 1 specific scenario in which that would be really amazing, so file this under corner case? Also, I have only played 3 games of TI3 and only 1 game of TI4, so take this with a whole shaker of Morton's sea salt.

When I was playing 4th Ed last weekend, I had a secret objective that had me destroy a flag ship or a War Sun. All of the viable targets on the board were heavily guarded in huge fleets. I'd have loved to suicide bomb the crap out of one of the target sectors. On top of the point, it'd be great to fly in a single ship and clear the area.

As I am typing this, I wonder if this would be a viable tactic for the brotherhood. One turn X, stall as much as you can, preferably until a target player has passed. Fly in your suicide ship to clear out a huge fleet. Then on turn X + 1, draft a lower numbered strategy, and then as your first action, come in with your main force to take the system. I agree this is only a one or two use per game tactic, but it seems interesting from the arm chair.

Thanks for the show! Keep them coming! Can't wait for you to discuss Embers of Muaat!!!!
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Michael Bomholt
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I don't think the L1Z1X are the best race. I've played TI4 about 8 times now so I'm nowhere near certain on the relative power of the factions but I have tiers developing in my mind.

I Do think the L1Z1X are powerful, their new abilities are very good in particular their dreadnoughts having two capacity.


Right now if you asked me who I thought the tier one races were I'd list Sol, Letnev, Yssaril , Jol Nar. Then I wouldn't be certain after that. Even with the nerfs that the Yssaril received I still believe them to be tier 1 if not still the best race. Jol Nar became even stronger in this edition to cement their already commanding position in the rankings. The two outliers in that list are the Sol and Letnev, both of which were middling races in TI3. Thanks to the new command counter economy both the Letnev and the Sol received powerful buffs. The letnev don't have to commit as many counters to fleet supply throughout the game and the Sol get an extra one every turn, until you sit down and play TI4 you won't have a good feeling for just how scarce those darn CCs can be, any race that lets you get by with fewer is VERY good.

When the dust settles after a few years of playing TI4 I could easily see L1Z1X being tier 1, I'm just not ready to make that call quite yet.

The Yin the poor beleaguered Yin. I understand your assessment of them, they were always the basement dwellers in TI3. They always felt like a hodgepodge of abilities that didn't lend to a good cohesive strategy. The TI4 Yin are better than the TI3 Yin for two reasons. You don't roll a die to convert troops, so you can rely on you racial when you need it. Secondly they now have the best flagship in the game, the NUKE. Many of you are underestimating the psychological factor of the NUKE. Yes it may not be the greatest move to send it into a fleet and destroy everything just for the sake of destruction, but the THREAT of it is very powerful. I for-see quite a few shakedowns occurring with this thing:

"hey neighbor, nice warsun fleet you have there, would be a pity if something happened to it, why don't you support my throne so that no accidents happen"

These kind of power politics are really good when you have the biggest gun in the room.

Also think of it like a wrecking ball with fleet logistics. You can destroy that giant fleet blocking your way to an objective leaving a nice open space you can fly through with your second tactical action. It's like the family atomics in dune destroying the shield wall
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Dustin Shunta
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After 8 plays, my assessment is that the Hacan and Jol Nar are the top tier races.

I can easily see that shifting as people become more familiar with the objective decks. But, right now these races have a huge leg up because their abilities synergize well with many of the public objectives. For example, if two or more science objectives come out, it is difficult to imagine the Jol Nar not being at the head of the pack. Similar story with resource/influence based objectives for the Hacan.
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Michael Bomholt
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Jimb0v wrote:
After 8 plays, my assessment is that the Hacan and Jol Nar are the top tier races.

I can easily see that shifting as people become more familiar with the objective decks. But, right now these races have a huge leg up because their abilities synergize well with many of the public objectives. For example, if two or more science objectives come out, it is difficult to imagine the Jol Nar not being at the head of the pack. Similar story with resource/influence based objectives for the Hacan.


Yeah, that is my experience with the Jol Nar so far.

I've only played one game with the Hacan in it so I didn't include them yet.
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Bog Zal
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blarknob wrote:
Thanks to the new command counter economy both the Letnev and the Sol received powerful buffs. The letnev don't have to commit as many counters to fleet supply throughout the game [...]

Letnev's "Armada" racial ability comes down to getting two additional command counters at the start of the game*. It is nice, but certainly not as powerful as Sol's 1CC per round.

*) With one exception - it also mitigates the effects of the "Fleet Regulations" law.
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Daniel Grant
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Also, I forgot to mention this but the plan to have an episode or episodes devoted to what to do on the first turn is a really great idea.
 
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