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Subject: If the round 1 bonus is for building Planetary Institute/Academy, is it better to go for the Academy? rss

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Robert
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In the Lantids thread, James shared his view on how to deal with a round 1 bonus of "PI/AC gives 5VP":
JamesWolfpacker wrote:
I really think there's only 1 faction which should have their PI by the end of R1 in most games. If R1 is PI/A scoring then build an Academy, and don't pick a faction where you have to build a PI in R2-R3.
Like others, I'd like to discuss this advice in more depth and therefore start this thread so it doesn't become buried in a thread with a different subject.

For the record: An Academy in round 1 requires 11 ore and 14 coins. While the coins are no problem, the ore is a major obstacle as most factions start with just 7 ore + 1 QIC (which could be converted to an ore - ouch!). I.e. to pull this off you need 3-4 extra ore. 1 ore will probably come from a round booster, another one (or two) could be gained if you pick the +1ore/+1QIC tech tile for the RL, and if the RL research advance is on Terraforming, Navigation or AI, you gain another 2ore resp. 1QIC. Despite these, I feel that it's going to be hard to get to 11 ore unless you get the +2ore power action (or at least do a 3pw-to-1ore conversion).

An Academy gives you a second tech tile and a research step, and of course a 3pw building. It's going to be an interesting decision which Academy you pick: it's 6 QIC vs. 10 knowledge.

Your thoughts?
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Kester J
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I thought that comment was interesting too.

I can see that an early academy would be strong with income tiles, but it needs a total of 11 ore to pull off. It seems likely that the player who gets the 4power->2ore action is going to be the only one who can pull the opening off in many games, unless you spend a tech advance on terraforming to get the 2 ore there. Is that a waste if you don't plan to upgrade terraforming further later on? It seems like it probably is, but if the opening is good enough then maybe it isn't; you are effectively giving up board position for long-term economy when you do this opening, so perhaps terraforming is an ideal track for pulling your board position back later on.

Itars feel like a strong race for trying this opening, with their extra starting ore and 3-science academy.
 
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Ola Caster
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But you don't need the power action. You even said it yourself:

7 ore start (this is the most common)
+1 from booster
+2 from science step on terraforming (you can always take a step in R1)
+1 from QIC/ore tech tile with the RL

Then you can take whatever second tech tile that is suitable with the academy.

In case you don't get an ore from your booster, you can always convert the QIC. You will get it back if you build the QIC academy.

Edit: I read too quickly. The debate was whether the terraforming step is worthwhile in the long run. I guess the answer (as always) is 'it depends'
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Ola Caster
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Kester wrote:

Itars feel like a strong race for trying this opening, with their extra starting ore and 3-science academy.


At the same time - to me - the Itar PI seems like one of the better in the game, and one that makes sense to get early. Or am I wrong?
 
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James Wolfpacker
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The other option is to ignore the R1 Scoring if it is PI/A and focus on scoring elsewhere. After all, it is only 5vp. Two extra Gaia planets for 3vp+ later are worth more. Two extra tech steps by the end of the game are worth more (+8vp if L3 or higher) if you invest in Knowledge instead.
 
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James Wolfpacker
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kruppy wrote:
Kester wrote:

Itars feel like a strong race for trying this opening, with their extra starting ore and 3-science academy.


At the same time - to me - the Itar PI seems like one of the better in the game, and one that makes sense to get early. Or am I wrong?


It's a great power, but it depends on how many times you can lose 4 power tokens in a game during Gaia Phase and still build the satellites you need to build. This power also means that you have to go to at least 2 steps on Gaiaforming.
 
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Flo P
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
It's a great power, but it depends on how many times you can lose 4 power tokens in a game during Gaia Phase and still build the satellites you need to build. This power also means that you have to go to at least 2 steps on Gaiaforming.


while gaiaforming serves as a nice combo for Itar, you can definitely win without it. Your main tool for this approach is the +4pw action tech, together with the PI and some clever burning. this way you can make sure you pick up one tech tile every gaia phase. I did so just yesterday (not one step in gaia track) and was able to score ~170 points.

Otoh, opening with a gaiaformer can be very strong as it allows you to get two tech tiles in R2, but you will probably have to skip some tech tiles in the later rounds. Either way Itar are one of the factions with whom I will probably always build my PI in R1. If the setup really discourages that, I probably wouldn't consider picking them...
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Robert
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bluesheep wrote:
while gaiaforming serves as a nice combo for Itar, you can definitely win without it. Your main tool for this approach is the +4pw action tech, together with the PI and some clever burning. this way you can make sure you pick up one tech tile every gaia phase. I did so just yesterday (not on step in gaia track) and was able to score ~170 points.
You are aware that the +4pw tech tile doesn't give you 4 power tokens, but just allows you to shift power around, right?

One tech tile from the PI ability per round (obviously not in round 1) requires burning 20 power tokens (and of course PI in round 1). That requires burning all the 11 power tokens the Itars gain from their PI during the game. Any power tokens required for alliances would need to be converted or gained from the relevant round booster and power action.
 
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Ramirez Kyogen
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It is really interesting to place an Academy in the first round.
I really wonder if it's really worth it and that you're not ruining your economy for the next rounds.

The Swarm:
They need 12 Ore and 16 coins, but it's still possible for them to place an Academy and even form a federation in the first round.

Bal T'ak:
They are able to get 3 tech tiles in round one and have to deceide to receive additional credits (24 in total) or science.
 
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Flo P
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DocCool wrote:
Any power tokens required for alliances would need to be converted or gained from the relevant round booster and power action.


Exactly... so your point is? Together with the 4-power-value building tech itars wont't need a lot of satellites anyway (I had 3 alliances: lost planet + maybe 3-4 satellites?)

To be fair, I can't remember if I used the ability on the last gaia phase for sure, as I can remember getting fed up with the basic techs and screwing up when trying to pick up an advanced tech due to timing issues. Apart from that boosters, ACTs, alliance tiles and ore are your friends.

In case the strategy isn't crystal clear: 8pw income (PI+tech) means you are guaranteed to have 8pw in bowl II and therefore 4pw in your gaia bowl. However the tech tile often wasn't used at the beginning of the turn, rather I waited for leech and used the tech tile near the end before passing in order to make sure I can get 4pw into the gaia bowl. I was very happy with my approach (and quite surprised), however the main drawback compared to the "standard" Itar gaiaformer is that the calculations become a lot more involved. There were certain moments where I wouldn't have been able to get my tech the next round if that critical leech didn't occur, so anticipating and acounting for this correctly is key here.

The second drawback is that the opening might not be as explosive as the standard approach, as described in my previous post. I'll have to play a couple of games more to gain further insight on whether one option truly is superior to the other. For now I simply wanted to remark that there is a different approach leading to success.
 
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James Wolfpacker
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You have to place a Gaiaformer on a Transdim planet in order to get power tokens in your Gaia Bowl.
 
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Ramirez_Kyogen wrote:
Bal T'ak:
They are able to get 3 tech tiles in round one and have to deceide to receive additional credits (24 in total) or science.

How do they get 3 tech tiles in round one?
 
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Flo P
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
You have to place a Gaiaformer on a Transdim planet in order to get power tokens in your Gaia Bowl.


It would be helpful letting us know with a quote who this comment is aimed at. Provided I haven't glossed over some major part of the discussion here, this statement seems to be just a quote from the rulebook and appears out of context? In particular Itar have a second way of getting power into their gaia bowl, which was the whole point of the 'alternative' approach I mentioned, so I hope you understand that I am somewhat confused by this statement

Either way, I am curious to hear a more elaborate opinion of you on the OP, after all it was your radical comment on the PI that shocked us and got this whole thread going modest Hopefully you will find the spare time to participate further on this topic, I am eagerly looking for some new insights!

Btw, thanks a lot DocCool for playing forum moderator here and trying to separate the various discussions that might arise under different topics into well structured, individual threads!
 
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Ramirez Kyogen
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Quote:
How are the Bal T'ak able to get 3 tech tiles ?


By spending 4 QICs on the QIC action, they are able to get another tech tile.

This can be achieved in 2 ways: with the round booster containing a QIC or 1 ore:

With the ore as booster, you still need to trade 4 power for 1 QIC and have both the Research lab and the Academy invest in gaiaforming (thus having 2 gaiaformers as 2 QICs) and have the tech tile with 1 ore and QIC.

With the QIC as booster you can, as example, get the 1 ore / 1 QIC tech tile with the Research Lab and spend the point on the A.I. tech track, getting the 4tht QIC. You still need 1 ore which have to come through a power action (or the free action). I don't recommend this, as all your technologies are spread out and inefficient.

Of course everything has to be in the perfect place and again is it really worth it to have 3 tech tiles in the first round, where one of them is the one time bonus of 1 ore/1 QIC.
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James Wolfpacker
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I'm saying that using the Itar's ability the way you describe is nowhere near as good as having them Gaiaform tokens from Bowl 1. The burning is really only there to help make a (second) group of 4 happen.

Here is a situation that might seem worth it to build the PI in R1. Take your R1 tech step on Gaiaforming, make 6 PT in Bowl 1 and place a Gaiaformer, and then build the PI. Along the way, whenever it is most convenient, burn 2 PT to make 8 in the Gaia Bowl. If you can, take a power action or convert power that you need to match up with the BOO (round booster) you got to prep for R2. Then in R2 (with Gaia Planet scoring) Gaia Phase you can pick up 2 tech tiles. Preferably 3vp per Gaia Mine built and something that will get you QIC and NAV to reach 2 more Gaia Planets. Make sure you have enough ore and coin to build at least 3 mines.

It's also a possibility that at least one of the other players (or more) will decide that they might be better off building a RL in R1 and taking the 3vp per Gaia planet and jumping on the hotly contested Gaias in R1 with the extra ore and coin to prevent you or others from scoring 6vp or 7vp (or 8-9vp for Gleen) in the next round.

The question is... is it better to have 1 tech tile each in R1 and R2 OR 2 in R2? I guess it depends on the setup and what everyone else does. The situation I describe seems like a pretty good result to build the PI in R1, and it is, given that everyone else will play along with your plan, but I don't think that they will. The negative result here is that you can fall behind in research so you'll have to make it up with tech tiles that give you knowledge or advance on the science track with what you have. This is why the Academy is worth 3K instead of 2K.

Building the RL and/or either Academy allows you to be more versatile and adjust your play to your opponents. Building the PI in R1 locks you into a strategy that your opponents will be able to exploit because you are more predictable in your play.

bluesheep wrote:
JamesWolfpacker wrote:
You have to place a Gaiaformer on a Transdim planet in order to get power tokens in your Gaia Bowl.


It would be helpful letting us know with a quote who this comment is aimed at. Provided I haven't glossed over some major part of the discussion here, this statement seems to be just a quote from the rulebook and appears out of context? In particular Itar have a second way of getting power into their gaia bowl, which was the whole point of the 'alternative' approach I mentioned, so I hope you understand that I am somewhat confused by this statement

Either way, I am curious to hear a more elaborate opinion of you on the OP, after all it was your radical comment on the PI that shocked us and got this whole thread going modest Hopefully you will find the spare time to participate further on this topic, I am eagerly looking for some new insights!

Btw, thanks a lot DocCool for playing forum moderator here and trying to separate the various discussions that might arise under different topics into well structured, individual threads!


I tend to play devil's advocate.
 
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alvin toushiro
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As a side-track of the original thread, may i further side-track to another issue?

you mention about an academy for an extra tech tile, i.e. 2 tech tiles to start round 2. And the cost is 11ore14cre.

i totally agree that it is cool to start round 2 with 2 tech tiles. however, do you want to go straight to the academy in other circumstances? i mean, other than the 5vp PI/PA scoring tiles?

i would say 2 research labs for 2 tech tiles is better? (i tried it once with bescod) thats 10ore16cre (if you place your opening mines close enough with other players)

although i won that game, i found the whole game short of ores (thats an issue in every other gaia project games, always, i got the 1ore1power tech tile round 1 already...).

i would say if i have 10ores16cre, it would be more balance to build 2 mines, upgrade 1 to tp and another 1 to PI (if the scoring tile is really the 5vp for PI/A in round 1).
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Ben Hodgson
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Having been spanked during my first play with Ambas, I found the following:
With their starting extra ore income and a booster for ore, and the 4power or qic+ore tech, they can get first round academy and an extra 4qic tech. This leaves them entering round 2 with (some divergence possible):
Academy(qic) + 1 mine, 3 techs (4pow, 4cash, qic+ore -used up), level 1 terraforming, level 3 navigation, +1 level somewhere of your choice. It does require 2 of those techs to be under the terraform or nav tracks, or in the bottom 3 'wild' tech slots (advance any tech track). The odds for 2 or more of them being in the 4 other restricted tech tracks

It's a tight 2nd round to be sure, but with a nav range of 2/3, 1 qic, 4 cash, 3 ore, 4pow they can usually get a few mines down in round 2 on gaia planets or native terrain. Plus any booster bonus of course

Round 3+ they can be pushing terraforming to level 2/3 and starting to aggressively encroach on other players, getting planet diversity etc.

The Geoden can do similar as they start with lvl 1 terraform and +2 ore, but they might be better simply trying to push straight up the terraform track to level 3/4 if possible, and start a slow but inexorable terraform grind using the academy qic to leap to planet clusters and use their efficient terraforming to mine. Their PI supports this as well as it supplies the Knowledge that is lost by choosing the QIC academy over the knowledge one.
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Jack Liu
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DocCool wrote:

An Academy gives you a second tech tile and a research step, and of course a 3pw building. It's going to be an interesting decision which Academy you pick: it's 6 QIC vs. 10 knowledge.


I think Knowledge is better here unless you have a plan for the early QIC (for getting onto gaia projects or in combination with other QIC for the 4 QIC action)

With +2K +1K Base for most races, if you take the +1K tech with this Academy tile, you will get +4K a round and will be sitting pretty on a research advance a round.

This let's you hit level 2 nav easily to start grabbing planets or could be used to jump start your econ in other ways. Getting any income tech in R1 will give you the most value over the coarse of the game

aluxorvin wrote:

i would say 2 research labs for 2 tech tiles is better? (i tried it once with bescod) thats 10ore16cre (if you place your opening mines close enough with other players)

although i won that game, i found the whole game short of ores (thats an issue in every other gaia project games, always, i got the 1ore1power tech tile round 1 already...).


That's the issue with 2 RL early, your ore production will suck because you converted 2 mines to RL and didn't build any new mines. I think you would be better off doing the standard RL, TS, Mine, Mine start then. Get second RL round 2 if that is something you are interested in
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Robert
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frotes wrote:
I think you would be better off doing the standard RL, TS, Mine, Mine start then. Get second RL round 2 if that is something you are interested in
Oh my, here come those high standards again.
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Yesterday we played the game the four of us. With the score of 184 defeated Itar (2nd time in Gaia, a lot of experience in TM), who built Pi on the first round. At the same time, he never advanced in the gaiaforming, successfully using the Pi ability only by power burning (it seems 4 times per game). Also, he never advanced in navigation, using instead Qic and round booster. And also entered the top of the three tracks (Qic, economy, knowledge). The final scorings were: the number of satellites and the number of built buildings (18+12vp). Also, by the end of the game, the player has 29 coins and 2 knowledge left (Hadsch Halla does not approve of such a finish ). I was sure that with this start, the result of Itars will be modest, but it seems that I was looking too close. It was an interesting game.
 
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bobral wrote:
Yesterday we played the game the four of us. With the score of 184 defeated Itar (2nd time in Gaia, a lot of experience in TM), who built Pi on the first round. At the same time, he never advanced in the gaiaforming, successfully using the Pi ability only by power burning (it seems 4 times per game). Also, he never advanced in navigation, using instead Qic and round booster. And also entered the top of the three tracks (Qic, economy, knowledge). The final scorings were: the number of satellites and the number of built buildings (18+12vp). Also, by the end of the game, the player has 29 coins and 2 knowledge left (Hadsch Halla does not approve of such a finish ). I was sure that with this start, the result of Itars will be modest, but it seems that I was looking too close. It was an interesting game.
Interesting. I'm impressed that he managed to burn 16 power tokens for tech tiles and yet win the satellite scoring. In our games, winners of satellite scoring usually have to have at around 11 satellites, so your friend needed 27+ power tokes over the course of the game. Itars get 10 power tokens via PI (if built in round 1), plus 9 at the start of round 1, so they'd still need to collect 8 power tokens elsewhere. Clearly doable, but it requires some dedication.
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There are quite a few factions I would rush R1 PI for even without the scoring tile (assuming it's not R2).

Just at a first guess, I'd definitely rush PI over A R1 for Nevlas, Itars, Terrans, Lantids, and Geodens (because I'd rush anyway) and for Hadsch Hallas, Firaks, Xenos, and Gleens (because I'd want the PI power before I recovered from an A rush open). There are workable A rushes for all of these, of course; YMMV.

The rest (Taklons, Ambas, Bal T'aks) I'd probably rush A because the PI power isn't critical early and can be exploited after the fact (or is simply something to work around).
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Bobrov Alexander
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DocCool wrote:
Interesting. I'm impressed that he managed to burn 16 power tokens for tech tiles and yet win the satellite scoring. In our games, winners of satellite scoring usually have to have at around 11 satellites, so your friend needed 27+ power tokes over the course of the game. Itars get 10 power tokens via PI (if built in round 1), plus 9 at the start of round 1, so they'd still need to collect 8 power tokens elsewhere. Clearly doable, but it requires some dedication.


If I remember correctly, there were 13 satellites (or m.b. 12). When the last town was built, all the powertokens left.
Also in the game there was no round booster +2pwt.
Power tokens were obtained mainly from the power action 3pw-> +2pwt and one town 8vp+2pwt, and additionally due to a good economics from ore.


 
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Dokushin wrote:
There are quite a few factions I would rush R1 PI for even without the scoring tile (assuming it's not R2).

Just at a first guess, I'd definitely rush PI over A R1 for Nevlas, Itars, Terrans, Lantids, and Geodens (because I'd rush anyway) and for Hadsch Hallas, Firaks, Xenos, and Gleens (because I'd want the PI power before I recovered from an A rush open). There are workable A rushes for all of these, of course; YMMV.

The rest (Taklons, Ambas, Bal T'aks) I'd probably rush A because the PI power isn't critical early and can be exploited after the fact (or is simply something to work around).


Do you mean power consumption via opponents or power income during income phase?

The power consumption should not be underestimated, I agree. But it's interesting that you would go with so many factions for an early PI. I peak currently around 180 in my games, so I'm by no means an expert, so take it with a grain of salt, when I would try to go with a PI a bit later on average. For instance with Hadsch Halla (no big building scoring in game) I like the PI in midgame and have a strong economy with RL and some TS and spread out dwellings first.

Power is of course important, so it was the strategy to have level 2 buildings around all important spots where the opponents might build. Having the PI is better for each built, but there's a Mine somewhere instead where you just generate 1 power.

In the end, power consumption strategy might justify its own thread
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Dokushin wrote:
There are quite a few factions I would rush R1 PI for even without the scoring tile (assuming it's not R2).

Just at a first guess, I'd definitely rush PI over A R1 for Nevlas, Itars, Terrans, Lantids, and Geodens (because I'd rush anyway) and for Hadsch Hallas, Firaks, Xenos, and Gleens (because I'd want the PI power before I recovered from an A rush open). There are workable A rushes for all of these, of course; YMMV.

The rest (Taklons, Ambas, Bal T'aks) I'd probably rush A because the PI power isn't critical early and can be exploited after the fact (or is simply something to work around).
Thank you! I was very surprised to see the comment quoted in the OP that most races shouldn't have PI in round 1. My feeling is that there are several races for whom R1 Planetary Institute is one of the most powerful openings: Terrans get to gain 6 power worth of stuff (effectively charge 12 power), Nevlas/Librarians get to spend double power, Geodens/Geologists and Lantids/Parasites get to gain 3-4 or even 6 extra knowledge; and everyone gets to benefit from an income of 4 power charge, where power charge income is otherwise pretty scarce to come by.
 
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