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Subject: Relative strength of the various factions rss

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Robert
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Since threads are popping up around here about certain factions being OP, usually based on a game or three or even just reading the rules, here's a poll so you can state your views.

Note that it would be helpful if you only assess factions you've actually experienced (playing them yourself, or against them) in at least one game.

Poll: Your assessment of the strength of the factions in Gaia Project
Please assess the strength of the various factions in GP. It would help the poll if you could refrain from assessing factions purely on what you read about them - in this case please tick the "haven't seen in game" option.
Please assess the strength of the GP factions.
  overpowered strong ok weak haven't seen in game unsure
Terrans (blue)
Lantids (blue)
Xenos (yellow)
Gleens (yellow)
Taklons (brown)
Ambas (brown)
Hadsch Hallas (red)
Der Schwarm / Ivits (red)
Geodens (orange)
Bal T'aks (orange)
Firaks (grey)
Mad Androids / Bescods (grey)
Nevlas (white)
Itars (white)
      266 answers
Poll created by DocCool
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Kristof Bodric
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I think the relative strengths and weaknesses of the factions are purely situational, even more so than in Terra Mystica. That said, I would have preferred the options "Pretty" and "Sexy" to be added.
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Kin
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vidra wrote:
I think the relative strengths and weaknesses of the factions are purely situational, even more so than in Terra Mystica. That said, I would have preferred the options "Pretty" and "Sexy" to be added.


This.

The variable map set ups, and the variable locations of the techs make the relative strengths situational.

A game is which building on gaia planets score twice AND have end-of-game scoring...Terrans and Bal T'aks are going to be potentially OP.
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James Ataei
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candoo wrote:
vidra wrote:
I think the relative strengths and weaknesses of the factions are purely situational, even more so than in Terra Mystica. That said, I would have preferred the options "Pretty" and "Sexy" to be added.


This.

The variable map set ups, and the variable locations of the techs make the relative strengths situational.

A game is which building on gaia planets score twice AND have end-of-game scoring...Terrans and Bal T'aks are going to be potentially OP.


Terrans will probably be weaker because everyone will be doing Gaiaforming. In addition Itars should probably be chosen too.
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Thomas Lepetit
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So far, the forum first impression:
1. Terrans: 2.818181818
2. The Swarm: 2.552631579
3. Itars: 2.441176471
4. Geodens: 2.41025641
5. Nevlars: 2.4
6. Ambas: 2.361111111
7. HH: 2.268292683
8. Xenos: 2.256410256
9. Baltaks: 2.205882353
10. Gleens: 2.121212121
11. Taklons: 2.1
12. Firaks: 2.03125
13. Mad Androids: 1.810810811
14. Lantids: 1.580645161
I weighted "overpowered" at 4, "strong" at 3, etc.
Terrans left a clear impression as powerful at first glance. The Swarn is a clear second. Next you have a pack of 4 perceived powerful factions. The last clear drops are 12th to 13th, with the mad androids lagging behind, and then Lantids who are clearly dead last (though it's worth noting that people seem afraid to try them - they are also dead last in term of game appearance).
Things of note: Firaks leave people befuddled. While clear outliers, Terrans are not classified as overpowered. When Itars make an impression, it's a big one (strong vs. overpowered)
My personal surprises: I didn't expect Lantids to score so low. They only appeared once in my 11 games, but I won that one with them (and I enjoyed playing them). Geodens are scored higher that I thought.
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Robin Zigmond
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Really we have no idea, and likely won't for at least a year. The only way that won't be the case is if one or more factions are VERY CLEARLY over/underpowered - such that almost no-one is able to cite an example where the faction was in a game and did really well (if the faction is underpowered) or badly (if it is OP). I recall with TM it became clear that Fakirs were severely weak when such a thread developed and there were basically no examples of them doing well (some wins were of course mentioned, but in no case was it with a score considered competitive with strong players playing other factions).

I've played much less than many on here, but the biggest surprise to me amoong the first impressions is that Geodens are so high. From their (lack of) abilities they appear to be basically trash to me. Rushing up the terraforming track in Round 1 doesn't seem likely to be successful, and despite the obvious temptation I'm sceptical that an early PI will be a great move. About the only way I can see them being good is to use their extra 2 Ore (from the starting Terraforming step) do do something especially good in Round 1 and start some sort of economic snowball. But of course other factions can get that 2 ore themselves by advancing on Terraforming in the first round if it is judged a good idea...

I'm also surprised by the lack of love for the Taklons. I played them in my first game and, while my win was fairly meaningless because we all did terribly, the extra flexibility they have from the Brainstone, and all the extra power tokens they can get from their PI, struck me as pretty comparable - although quite different - to the economic advantages of the Hadsch Hallas, who I notice rank quite a bit higher in people's opinions.

But really we should all come back in about 2 years when there is an official app (one *is* being developed, I hope) and have a good laugh about how clueless we all were (by then we will all know Lantids are bordering on OP, while Terrans are almost unplayable whistle)
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Steinar Nerhus
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robinz wrote:

I've played much less than many on here, but the biggest surprise to me amoong the first impressions is that Geodens are so high. From their (lack of) abilities they appear to be basically trash to me. Rushing up the terraforming track in Round 1 doesn't seem likely to be successful, and despite the obvious temptation I'm sceptical that an early PI will be a great move. About the only way I can see them being good is to use their extra 2 Ore (from the starting Terraforming step) do do something especially good in Round 1 and start some sort of economic snowball. But of course other factions can get that 2 ore themselves by advancing on Terraforming in the first round if it is judged a good idea...


We have found that the PI is very strong for Geodens, and almost an automatic round 1. It will probably give you 15+knowledge through the game, and most important it gives you 9 of those knowledge quite easy in the first few turns when they have the greatest impact (building on two neighbour colors and on a Gaia planet).
The terraforming track is also very strong because of the sweet extra aliance on the top, but it is no need to rush it round 1. Probably you want to go for Navigation because it is nice to get some reach, and because the black planet is also very good for Geoden as an additional planet type.
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Ido Abelman
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The "Geodens are OP/strong" argument was made by the guy that owns GP in my local group. He said each time he played with them they won by a large margin. I think he based that on only 2 games however. Interestingly I think at least one of those games used the 3 player beginner setup (so vs Terrans, another faction perceived as strong).

In my first game we played me, another new player and him. Again 3 player beginner setup, and he is chosen as first player. He wants to pick Geodens but says it wouldn't be fair - we insist he picks what's good for him. And I wanted to try terrans anyway. Now he did win this one too by a margin, but the setup was somewhat favourable for Geodens ("most planet types" final scoring), he was the most experienced player at the table and I made some huge mistakes during the game, that I think would make it much closer if I didn't make them.

In a later game a beginner played the Geodens and seemed to perform relatively well even though he built the PI a bit too late I think. He advanced well on several research tracks and got 3 federations IIRC but didn't win. This time the host was terrans with a pretty favourable setup and won again by a margin.
 
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Shane F
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The results here are surprising to me; I would rate the Firaks and Taklons both fairly highly.

The Firaks have a path to absolutely ludicrous tech development early game, and an extra knowledge income printed on the board; I've played them twice and scored 50+ on the tech track both times, with piles of income and bonuses from tech tiles and ludicrous tech levels making it easy to play to the round bonuses and stay competitive for the end game rankings. (R1 RI, R2 PI. The dream I guess would be R1 RI PI, but you'd have to charge an awful lot of power.)

The Taklons seem to have a really nice path into ridiculous amounts of power, although they're (oddly) reliant on mid-round small charges instead of fat income phase power. It took me a while to "get" them, but I think my highest score is with them. Cycling the Brainstone brings an incredible degree of profit. I honestly think they might be one of the most flexible factions, requiring only that you can stay in range of a neighbor or two.
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Temirlan Tattybekov
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I find it fairly interesting how Lantids are considered a weak faction, while Taklons are perceived as Ok+.

So far in my experience, the faction that stands out as the most OP is Bal T'ak, who simply have way too much of everything, since QIC can be used to gain resources, gain points and is generally a very versatile resource. Lantids is the faction I've played the least of, but their ability to have a massive worker engine so early makes the very strong. The ability to gain science in the process makes their PI a very worthwhile early investment, which can't be said about every race in the game. (generally don't build PI as Bal T'aks)

Taklons on the other hand is easily my least favorite faction and the one that scores the least in our games. Our average for them is probably around 140, which is roughly ~30 points away from the winning average. No one in our playgroup of experienced TM players seems to make them work. Their ability has low resource impact and no direct resource-to-points conversion. And we've tried it all: timing research to charge the stone, having a good orange-4power-action tile pairing with the tech track. Playing with objectives and round bonuses in mind. "Discharging" the stone in free conversion so that any charge is effectively a +3, if there are no power actions left etc. etc. etc. So far, out of ~70 games, i'm yet to see them win (they were in at least 30 games, since everyone tried to play them at least twice to prove a point that they can win with the weakest race). Honestly, I am at a loss here and any tips and trick for Taklons are more than welcome, since the community generally thinks they are an OK+ faction.
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Herefor Thecomments
Australia
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I'm glad my meaningful vote of not seen in game for all races can help in this stat gathering excercise.
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J K
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KawaiiSocks wrote:
I find it fairly interesting how Lantids are considered a weak faction, while Taklons are perceived as Ok+.

So far in my experience, the faction that stands out as the most OP is Bal T'ak, who simply have way too much of everything, since QIC can be used to gain resources, gain points and is generally a very versatile resource. Lantids is the faction I've played the least of, but their ability to have a massive worker engine so early makes the very strong. The ability to gain science in the process makes their PI a very worthwhile early investment, which can't be said about every race in the game. (generally don't build PI as Bal T'aks)

Taklons on the other hand is easily my least favorite faction and the one that scores the least in our games. Our average for them is probably around 140, which is roughly ~30 points away from the winning average. No one in our playgroup of experienced TM players seems to make them work. Their ability has low resource impact and no direct resource-to-points conversion. And we've tried it all: timing research to charge the stone, having a good orange-4power-action tile pairing with the tech track. Playing with objectives and round bonuses in mind. "Discharging" the stone in free conversion so that any charge is effectively a +3, if there are no power actions left etc. etc. etc. So far, out of ~70 games, i'm yet to see them win (they were in at least 30 games, since everyone tried to play them at least twice to prove a point that they can win with the weakest race). Honestly, I am at a loss here and any tips and trick for Taklons are more than welcome, since the community generally thinks they are an OK+ faction.


I've only played them a few times, but:

Like the Taklons' Automata, you want to be aggressive on planets from the get-go, getting Nav 2 going. RS+TS+M+M should be no issue Round 1 with their power income, grab an income tile that bumps you up NAV. Add an extra couple of aggressively placed mines in Round 2 and your economy should be humming. A round 3/4 PI is fine for them.

I prefer +4 credits over the +4 power as a first tech for Taklons, they need the money for structures early and you should be getting enough power leech by BEING EVERYWHERE ON THE BOARD

With your economy getting off the ground you want to be using your power for things other than resources. The real key for them are the terraforming Power Actions: 3/5 power is chump change to the Taklons. Grab resources later in the round if you end up with even more power, but not so much you can't hit those terraforming Power Actions next round.

They do not play well with other factions fighting for these Power Actions with a high power income (Ivits and Nevlas). They are not a heavy tech race IMO, they probably only want NAV and one other track (usually the QIC track).

End-game goals: The only one they dislike is Gaia planets IMO. Both structures and different color planets are great, satellites can be yours even with burning power thanks to your PI, and sectors should be a fight you can win.
 
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+4 power is strictly better than +4 credits, because with +4 power you can move the brainstone and an other mana token from bowl 1 to bowl 3, and then you can spend them to get 4 credits or something else (usually 1ore + 1credit)
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Ola Caster
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KawaiiSocks wrote:
I find it fairly interesting how Lantids are considered a weak faction, while Taklons are perceived as Ok+.

Their ability has low resource impact and no direct resource-to-points conversion.


There's lots that could be commented on in the post, but this jumped out at me. With sufficient pw-income (which is not too difficult to get) you start any round with all tokens in bowl 3. Move the stone and one other token to bowl 1 for 1 QIC. Next move, use the +4pw tech (which you should get asap), and convert for another QIC. Now you can at least take the 2 QIC action, possibly one of the other QIC actions instead if you can cycle the stone again via leech or other source, or if you have another source of QICs. This seems to me like a resource-to-point conversion that should work well.

(Of course there are many other useful things you could do with the 3pw from the stone.)

In all those games where Taklons sucked, when (or if) did you build the PI? I haven't played nearly enough to tell myself, but somehow it seems like the PI ability could sometimes be an obstacle for the Taklons. Constantly getting new tokens into bowl 1 might slow down the cycling of the stone.
 
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Łukasz Małecki
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kruppy wrote:
In all those games where Taklons sucked, when (or if) did you build the PI? I haven't played nearly enough to tell myself, but somehow it seems like the PI ability could sometimes be an obstacle for the Taklons. Constantly getting new tokens into bowl 1 might slow down the cycling of the stone.


It should enhance it, because you can (and should) burn it to get the Brainstone to bowl 3 faster, even if you still have power in bowl 1. As Taklons, you need to spend the Brainstone as often as possible, especially if you expect even the smallest amount of power gain. Just get the Brainstone to bowl 2, burn 1 power and you have it back. But to do that often, you also need a constant inflow of power tokens. Hence their PI ability.
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Ido Abelman
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kruppy wrote:

In all those games where Taklons sucked, when (or if) did you build the PI? I haven't played nearly enough to tell myself, but somehow it seems like the PI ability could sometimes be an obstacle for the Taklons. Constantly getting new tokens into bowl 1 might slow down the cycling of the stone.


I don't think it slows it down because you can always burn the power. When your brainstone is in bowel 1, 2 power charges are always enough to bring it to bowel 3 on your turn.
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Justin G
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Based on the results it looks like here is the fallout (as of date of the post):

Top Tier
Terrans
Ivits
Nevlas
Ambas
Hadsch Hallas

Mid Tier
Itars
Bal T'aks
Xenos
Geodens
Taklons

Lower Tier
Gleens
Firaks
Bescods
Lantids


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Luca Astolfi
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Lastro wrote:
My personal surprises: I didn't expect Lantids to score so low. They only appeared once in my 11 games, but I won that one with them (and I enjoyed playing them).


Identical situation here. I too have played 10-11 games of GP (mostly 2P and 3P) and Lantids only came up once. It was a 3P game and I won it with them (I played a lot more TM than my buddies have, though).

While that's definitely not enough to say whether they're weak or strong, the basic concept sounds really fun and gamey to me. I'm surprised they are picked so rarely. Then again, maybe the Terran side of that board is just too tempting?

My two cents: I think the factions I've seen at work so far are fairly balanced overall, since most of our games ended with the winner scoring somewhere in the 150-170 VP region. I would say the strong/weak impression is more related to how easily one can work out how to make the most of a certain faction, my group's exhibit A being Ivits - it's hard to mess up beyond recovery on your first rounds when you start with a flat-out power machine! Investing in a PI in the wrong place at the wrong time, on the other hand, can be devastating if you're not ready to get back on your feet with a good resource pool.
 
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Dennis
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In my gaming groups, no one has really clicked with the Lantids yet.
They have been played twice to mediocre results and shunned in favor of the Terrans afterwards.
I'd like to give them another shot, but I'm really unsure what conditions regarding tech tiles, scoring tiles and board setup are favorable to them.
 
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Space Trucker
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Some analysis of the numbers of today:


Terrans (blue) 2,80
Der Schwarm/Ivits (red) 2,79

Nevlas (white) 2,65
Itars (white) 2,53

Ambas (brown) 2,41
Hadsch Hallas (red) 2,39

Geodens (orange) 2,30
Average 2,30
Bal T'aks (orange) 2,28
Xenos (yellow) 2,25

Taklons (brown) 2,14
Gleens (yellow) 2,04
Firaks (grey) 1,96

Mad Androids/Bescods (grey) 1,77
Lantids (blue) 1,65




I used the same metric as lastro above (4,3,2,1).
The average is clearly above "okay" (2), but that's probably mostly because the options for weak and strong are not symmetrical as there's no equivalent for "overpowered", like "unplayably weak".

If we look at the standard devition of the numbers above we can see how big the difference between the perceived strengths of the users is. High standard deviation means that results from users vary pretty much:


Ambas (brown) 0,75
Random faction 0,75
Bal T'aks (orange) 0,74
Hadsch Hallas (red) 0,71
Taklons (brown) 0,71
Mad Androids/Bescods (grey) 0,71
Der Schwarm/Ivits (red) 0,69
Lantids (blue) 0,69
Nevlas (white) 0,68
Firaks (grey) 0,67
Geodens (orange) 0,67
Itars (white) 0,66
Xenos (yellow) 0,60
Gleens (yellow) 0,58
Terrans (blue) 0,51


For some factions the impressions are very different - if we sum up all data sets and compute a standard devition over all factions, then it's not higher than for bal t'ak or ambas.


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Robert
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Thanks for the numbers, SpaceTrucker!

So the most obvious consensus is that Terrans are strong (as they should be: Earth for the win! ).

Everything else is less clear. Probably the next best conclusions are
- the Schwarm is perceived as strong
- yellow factions seem to be considered below average.

The result for the Lantids is slightly shaded by a relatively lower number of votes, but along with the Mad Androids the majority of voters clearly considers them below average.

I calculated the numbers after removing the two best and two worst results per faction, but the numbers are sufficiently similar, with the standard deviations for Terrans and Lantids being least and those for Bal T'aks and Nevlas being most affected.

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RindFisch wrote:
In my gaming groups, no one has really clicked with the Lantids yet.
They have been played twice to mediocre results and shunned in favor of the Terrans afterwards.
I'd like to give them another shot, but I'm really unsure what conditions regarding tech tiles, scoring tiles and board setup are favorable to them.


Good discussion in this thread
 
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Robert
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Just a reminder for those who voted a while ago: as your experience increases, it would be interesting to see how your views change - you can always change your vote to match your revised assessment.
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Mathieu broche
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Interesting pool

I mostly agree with the result. However our group had very good result with Lantids (4 win in 4 games, all 3-4 players)

Firak also performed really well (like 3 victory, including 2nd hightest score). The 2 KW income per turn seem pretty good, and stronghold is strong as well.

There also seem to be a concensus that Mad Android are bad. They never came close to winning on our side even when they had a good setup...
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Philip Morton
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broche wrote:
I mostly agree with the result. However our group had very good result with Lantids (4 win in 4 games, all 3-4 players)

I would be interested to hear more details about this. Was there a consistent strategy that they used? Mine spam early, late? With or without PI? Particular scoring options they made heavy use of?
 
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