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Subject: Automata Mode - Many questions rss

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Kevin Barrington
United States
Friendswood
Texas
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I just played the Automata mode and got crushed, the AI was scoring so many points I had no clue how to catch up.

I feel like I did everything wrong, but the rules for automata are so brief even in the automata rulebook vs the aide that I had no clue what all the automata was supposed to score or not.

Round Bonus Tiles - 2 rounds the AI crushed me in were 2 points per shovel and 2 points per tech upgrade. The AI build 4 or so mines the shovel round and because it prioritizes easy planets first, it was building mines on 2-3 shovel planets each mine and made a million points, it felt really unfair.

End Round Tiles - The AI quickly upgrades to the 4 tier 2 buildings, and it then got the tile that gave 2 points per a few times so it scored 8 points off it each time it ended its turn.

I feel that the Automata rules would be a lot better if each section specifically stated DO NOT SCORE X, Y, or Z, or DON'T DO this or that that the action normally says to. It feels like since some sections such as building their research buildings say not to give them a tech tile/upgrade, then all other rules work like the players because it did not specifically say to deviate, while other sections do.

Also I found building a mine to be very confusing, it sounded like it had a set of rules you always follow such as if a green planet objective is active to prioritize them, but then the support card looks like it only sometimes follows the objective, but I can't find anywhere in the book to care about those symbols, it just says step B is check if it meets any of the objective tiles. After a few build mines I decided that the objective indicator does say if it cares or not, but then when doing the faction specific action if there is no priority for it how do I determine if the main objectives count?

Overall I was highly disappointed with my solo experience because while the main rulebook was very good and I have had a great time playing it multiplayer, I felt lost and confused most the time trying to make the automata work. It seemed like a tacked on afterthought with no playtesting with players actually reading the rulebook and giving feedback.
 
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Jack Spirio
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The Automa don’t get points for the rounds as normal but the little printed points with the 1-3 and 4-6
It also don’t get anything for getting a tecch tile or reaching any tech steps

The support card always (even with faction ability) states if and which end scoring is prioritizes

I thought the rules were pretty clear and had no problem at all
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Magnus Magnissimus Maximus
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Danxor wrote:
I feel like I did everything wrong, but the rules for automata are so brief even in the automata rulebook vs the aide that I had no clue what all the automata was supposed to score or not.


Well, it seems like your feeling was spot on, as per the previous comment. Read through the Automa rule book again, playing out the examples, and you’ll be fine. The Automa gets a lead on you in the early rounds as it consistently scores throughout the game and doeadn’t spend them, but you’ll catch up in the later rounds. I find it a bit irrational and unpredictable (as decks of cards tend to be), but quite satisfying.
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J V
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In terms of building mines.

First look at the top of the support card to see if first we should look at the end game scoring. We could consider the first of the end game scoring tiles, the 2nd one or neither.

Only 3 of the end game scoring tiles matter. Most planet types, most sectors, most gaia planets. If both of the end game scorings are something else, then this step has no effect.

A the bottom of page 6 you have what happens if you take those into account.

Most sectors-> if possible build in a new sector.

Most gaia planets, if possible build on a gaia planet or terraform a transdim planet to gaia then settle. The terraforming is done immediately as the automina does not use gaiaformers.

Most different types of planets, prioritize a new planet type.

Then if there are multiple possibilities of that you look for the one that needs the least terraforming steps.

If there are still multiple possibilities you take the one that is closest to you.

If there are still multiple possibilities you take the one using directional selection.

Marking the possibilities with cubes then eliminating them step by step worked well for me.

I missed the transdim part when I had gaia planet scoring. I also missed that unlike other actions if you have run out of mines and try to build you should do an upgrade instead.

What I was missing is I don't think the automata score passing bonus on the round cards, but was not completely sure.

Played solo twice and it was fun. Feels like a good way to try out the different factions. Probably would not play a huge number of times, but once or twice for each faction is still a lot.
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Robert
Germany
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I disagree with the OP that the Automa rules are badly written. I played the Automa out of the box with just reading the rules, and managed to play it correctly. Learning how the Automa picks planets for colonization/upgrading required one game to learn, but not because it was badly explained, but because it is a non-trivial process (which is required to make the Automa an interesting, not-to-predictable opponent who makes reasonable moves).

As others have said, the Automa gains a fixed amount of points from round scorings (depending on whether it's in round 1-3 or 4-6). E.g. in a round with terraforming scoring, it scores that fixed amount of points regardless of whether it colonizes five planets requiring 3 terraforming steps each, or no planet at all.
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Ola Caster
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Jack Spirio wrote:

It also don’t get anything for getting a tecch tile or reaching any tech steps


Question mark here: Surely the automa gets endgame vp for tech steps 3-5, just as the human player?
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Jack Spirio
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Yes, but no other bonuses
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James Wolfpacker
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The most difficult action in using the Automa is colonization, i.e building a mine. I highly suggest running through the walkthrough section and using either another color of satellites or power tokens to mark all possible planets then narrow it down through the tie breakers. Once you do this several times it will become more natural.

Regarding the vp gains, this is on the 1st page of the rules:

Quote:
The Automa gains VP in a simplified manner. It gains VP
according to Automa decision cards, Automa faction cards,
and the fixed amount shown on round scoring tiles (not by
achieving the condition on them). It also gains VP based on the
final scoring tiles in competition with the human player, and for
advancing in the research areas.


This means that the Automa does not gain vp in any other situation. It sounds like you gave the Automa vp from the booster tiles and the Automa doesn't get this vp. It does not get vp from taking the advanced tech tiles and from reaching L5 on tech tracks.

If you want to give it vp for these events for increased difficulty feel free to do it as a variant.
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Dax is
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Ya, you need to re-read the Automa rules. The Automa doesn't score like a player except for the endgame conditions and tech levels. All the Automa scoring is done using the VP on their cards and the end of round above the player goals.

That being said, I find the Automa gets a early lead while you build up an engine that you need to over take it in the end.
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