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Subject: "Beginner" vs "Advanced" Factions? rss

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Scott Lewis
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Dread Our Coming, Suffer Our Presence, Embrace Our Glory (Solonavi War Cry)
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So I've only been able to play a few games of this so far, mostly solo (which is great and worth it on it's own, in my opinion). However, I realize that I'm still not very good at it. My first couple games I used the suggested map and races. My last game on Sunday, though, I went with Ivits vs Terrans. I got smoked (I actually didn't finish because my kids started fighting and I had to take care of it, but I was not doing well).

Part of it, I understand, was a poor map layout for Ivits - competing with the Terrans and not having many 1-step planets nearby (and no Red's within easy reach). So some of that was just my fault for not reading the map well when picking my faction. However, it got me wondering if some of the races, while powerful, may be better suited towards "advanced" players, where others may be easier for beginners to grasp.

I know there is another thread talking about the relative power, but I thought I'd get a feel for how people may feel about the different factions, particularly in a solo game.

I know ultimately, the goal is to just "get good", but in the meantime, I'd like to start with the "easier" factions. (I suspect Terran's may be in that category).

Anyway, here's a poll to just get your thoughts. Again, this isn't talking about "strength", but just ease of grasping/using their strategy. IE, a "beginner" one may be one that is pretty straightforward, a few little adjustments here or there, whereas an "advanced" one may be something that turns some key mechanics on their head.

Poll
What is the "difficulty level" of the various factions, in your opinion?
  Beginner Intermediate Advanced
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)
      76 answers
Poll created by sigmazero13
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Ido Abelman
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The "first game" factions seem to give a pretty good indication of what are "beginner factions", these seem to be the same ones that are voted for in this survey as such - Terrans, Xenos, Taklons, Hadsch Halla, Geodens. Others I am less sure about but bescods seem to be the most advanced (as people voted)
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James Wolfpacker
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The Automa factions are the easier to play factions. Some of the easier to play factions are also what I'd call intermediate as well (Firaks, Taklons, Itars) as they require much better planning to actually do well with them.
 
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Joey Leang
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I definitely think there should be a better definition of "beginners" and "intermediate" here.

The way I look at it, it's more of "how do I develop a strategy using my race" whereas I believe the poll results is more representative of a "tier list" (they probably are correlated to an extent).

For example, Terran is a very strong race (especially if nobody else gaiaforms). But Gaiaforming being a whole new action it could be tricky to navigate. I can see how they are beginning friendly because they're power is relatively straight forward. But would they think to Rush PI, likely use QIC to navigate to a transdim planet to start a gaiaforming project first turn? When I played with beginners, they were seeing this as more of a territory control game.
 
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Oedipussy Rex
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I'm surprised at the voting for Ivits. Seem to be a pretty straight-forward faction to me. Spread out and build up, grabbing federation tokens on the way. Especially nice if the federation bonus is in the first round (build a mine, upgrade to RL, grab the PI/A +1, add a satellite = first round federation). And in the base setup, there's that nice line of orange and blue planets right down the middle.
 
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Ido Abelman
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OedipussyRex wrote:
I'm surprised at the voting for Ivits. Seem to be a pretty straight-forward faction to me. Spread out and build up, grabbing federation tokens on the way. Especially nice if the federation bonus is in the first round (build a mine, upgrade to RL, grab the PI/A +1, add a satellite = first round federation). And in the base setup, there's that nice line of orange and blue planets right down the middle.


They do have the most complex abillities in terms of rules text length. I think that alone is enough to affect people votes, and I think that's justified in some way - you might not want as a beginner to wrap your head around more rules.

Now they are more straightforward in some way as you do not have to think about dividing power between federations, but they have other issues to think of, such as using the space stations to minimize using QICs for range and satellites. And people can block you more easily than other factions and it might hurt a bit more. Last night I played them in a 4-player game "sandwiched" by terrans and geodens (not an ideal setup I know...) and I was blocked many times, at least one space station was completely wasted as a satellite (only useful as +1 power) and I had to change my direction of development a couple of times and waste QICs. BTW as I had the QIC academy and went up on AI, I still had plenty of QICs and used the 3-QIC "duplicate federation" action a lot, but it was often a tough call.

Another thing is that I think they are a bit of a trap with the "most buildings in federations" final scoring. They seem good for it because all their buildings are likely to be part of a federation but they are likely to build a bit less than others. It was part of why I chose them yesterday (another significant part was - +1 power for PI/AC at the bottom of AI and on-pass 3vp per federation on top) but I actually came last there for 0 points with 10 buildings! I think they wouldn't be too great for "most satellites" either, even though they have at least 6 for sure others are pretty expensive relative to other people's satellites and they usually want to minimize their use.

They are not as straightforward as the "first game" factions, I think the rating of "intermediate" most people give them is fitting.
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AnythingForMarcello
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Agreed - Ivits have a tenuous starting position and some major rules changes in their abilities - they may be easy once you know the game, but you don't know the game as a beginner.

Right now I agree with every ranking except Taklons and Ambas, which I admittedly just changed my mind on. I've switched Taklons from beginner to intermediate - they may be easy to understand, but without proper power manipulation they're only slightly better than a faction with no abilities. You need to have smart placements for leeching and burn a lot of power - something new players barely do in TM and do even less in GP (since tokens are more valuable for most factions). Plus, they have no starting tech track - a minor point, but a tech track to start out with is forgiving to new players nonetheless.

Meanwhile, after reflecting on my one play with the Ambas, I think they are both simple and easy to do well with. Sure, a beginner player may only get one extra federation out of their ability, but that's not bad. The biggest thing that's often overlooked is their increased basic ore production (2 instead of 1) which is huge. Plus, they start with 1 on the nav track, easily the most undervalued track by new players. Needing only a single bump to get to Nav2 is much more forgiving - they can usually do it as soon as they realize they need it.

For this reason, I've swapped Taklons out for Ambas in the factions I recommend to new players (on top of HH, Terrans, Xenos and Geodens).

edit: Looks like my vote change has moved Taklons from beginner to intermediate, though there's no majority opinion.
 
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Uncle Potato
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Based on the results of this poll, I’m playing my first game with Hadsch Hallas. If I lose, you all bear 100% of the responsibility.

Nate
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Bokken B
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I set this as the ability to do very well with the race, except for lantids, I set them as "beginner" because you have to be a beginner to expect to do better than all of the other available options in any map config
 
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