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Subject: Navigation an Early Game Trap? rss

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Jon Kern
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I used to see people discussing early game navigation as being essential and am wondering how people feel now that the game has been out for awhile. I have found that a lot of factions don't really need early navigation for a few reasons. First, round 1 you often start with some adjacent planets that are easy to Terraform and a home planet within range 3 that you can settle with your QIC. Second, rounds 2 and rounds 3 you will often be somewhat lacking on resources and getting navigation can often stifle further economic development from not allocating those same tech steps on other tracks. Third, using QIC can be cheaper for navigation purposes for many factions. For example, the HH can buy QIC with their PI, Nevlas can convert 2 power in bowl 3 with their PI to QIC, Ivits have space stations and QIC income, Terrans on some layouts can use their PI to take QIC when transdimensional and gaia planets are adjacent, etc. Clearly some factions flourish with navigation, especially those that want to do an expansionary opening (RL+4+M) such as the Gleens, Ambas, and sometimes the Xenos and possibly others as well depending on the layout particularly the location of Gaia planets.
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Michael Gonzalez
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Limitless333 wrote:
I used to see people discussing early game navigation as being essential and am wondering how people feel now that the game has been out for awhile. I have found that a lot of factions don't really need early navigation for a few reasons. First, round 1 you often start with some adjacent planets that are easy to Terraform and a home planet within range 3 that you can settle with your QIC. Second, rounds 2 and rounds 3 you will often be somewhat lacking on resources and getting navigation can often stifle further economic development from not allocating those same tech steps on other tracks. Third, using QIC can be cheaper for navigation purposes for many factions. For example, the HH can buy QIC with their PI, Nevlas can convert 2 power in bowl 3 with their PI to QIC, Ivits have space stations and QIC income, Terrans on some layouts can use their PI to take QIC when transdimensional and gaia planets are adjacent, etc. Clearly some factions flourish with navigation, especially those that want to do an expansionary opening (RL+4+M) such as the Gleens, Ambas, and sometimes the Xenos and possibly others as well depending on the layout particularly the location of Gaia planets.

I think I agree with this. It's mitigated a bit if the tech tile you use is an economy one. But, still, I'd rather go up an economy track early on, and then fly up Navigation sometime after R3, if necessary for an FS or and Advanced Tech.

But, I am open to being dead-wrong! Lol. I'm still feeling my way through this game.
 
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Jack Spirio
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I've played some games where I never powered navigation (mostly with Bal T'ak and a lot where nav wasn't a top priority at all.
I also wondered at the beginning why so many thought it was always necessary
 
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Flo P
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If one looks back at his personal development, there are certain layers to this game that are uncovered one at a time. One of the first things to learn is that NAV2 is a crucial step and this led to a playstyle heavily centered around NAV and/or terraforming while completely ignoring Eco/Science during my early games. After about 5-10 games I started to progress to more advanced openings and playstyles, (AC openings, going science heavy, centering play around advanced techs, etc.). So the initial premise of this thread is spot on - how do people value navigation now that the game is older?

I can only answer for myself here: I am still not sure whether the qics I spend/boosters I grab to save me going up on NAV is really worth it in the end. A QIC is roughly worth ~4 points, so if you are concerned with NAV2 not yielding any points at the end, you got these points simply by saving qics anyway. Therefore I wouldn't call NAV2 a trap, I am still of the opinion that it is more helpful than wasteful for most factions (discussing NAV with BalTak's doesn't make any sense to me, I have never seen someone enabling NAV development for them).

What remains interesting though and what I called 'the sunken cost fallacy regarding the NAV track' in my earlier posts is that players that are sitting at NAV2 go to NAV3 and beyond because of the point rewards, even if the lost planet / adv. tech at the top isn't the best choice at the table. I've fallen into that trap myself a couple of times and I think one has to see the powerful adv techs in action once or twice to start rethinking one's appproach to this game.
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Jon Kern
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Quote:
I can only answer for myself here: I am still not sure whether the qics I spend/boosters I grab to save me going up on NAV is really worth it in the end. A QIC is roughly worth ~4 points, so if you are concerned with NAV2 not yielding any points at the end, you got this points simply by saving qics. Therefore I wouldn't call NAV2 a trap, I am still of the opinion that it is more helpful than wasteful for most factions (discussing NAV with BalTak's doesn't make any sense to me, I have never seen someone enabling NAV development for them).

I agree that you need to be using the tech steps you save to get to higher, point scoring tech levels that also have useful benefits. The math has to make sense as the QIC actions frequently generate a lot of points approximately 4 points per QIC as you stated.
 
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Robert
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I still think that early Nav 2 is a good thing for the majority of factions in the majority of situations.

Situations when Nav 2 isn't of high interest:
1) Your faction can rely on a steady stream of QICs, e.g. Xenos, Bal T'ak, HH/Terrans with PI, Der Schwarm/Ivits (but: most factions aren't well suited for such an approach, and even the factions mentioned have opportunity costs for using QICs as range extensions and not for QIC actions)
2) Your faction is into terraforming and you're left alone in some juicy clusters of adjacent planets (but: relying on friendly opponents might be dangerous)
3) You're playing Der Schwarm and bridge open space with Space Stations

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Jack Spirio
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Limitless333 wrote:
Quote:
I can only answer for myself here: I am still not sure whether the qics I spend/boosters I grab to save me going up on NAV is really worth it in the end. A QIC is roughly worth ~4 points, so if you are concerned with NAV2 not yielding any points at the end, you got this points simply by saving qics. Therefore I wouldn't call NAV2 a trap, I am still of the opinion that it is more helpful than wasteful for most factions (discussing NAV with BalTak's doesn't make any sense to me, I have never seen someone enabling NAV development for them).

I agree that you need to be using the tech steps you save to get to higher, point scoring tech levels that also have useful benefits. The math has to make sense as the QIC actions frequently generate a lot of points approximately 4 points per QIC as you stated.

The problems can be that if many players go for QICs the QICs itself are less worth as you won't be able to trade them for VP in these actions.
 
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Jon Kern
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The problems can be that if many players go for QICs the QICs itself are less worth as you won't be able to trade them for VP in these actions.

I have certainly had many games where I had excess QIC at the end as well. I guess it comes down to being able to determine the strategies of the other players.

I will say that when larger planet clusters are on the map (I play random dealing of tiles in the appropriate shape last player turns as desiered Method 3). That navigation is less useful and terraforming more useful then in a more spread out setup.
 
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Robert
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Yeah, I've also experienced QIC richness in round 6 (or even 5), with QIC actions being gone really fast. I remember an earlier discussion about how significantly different the amount and uses of QICs are in the first half of the game vs. the second half.

However this thread is about getting range early in the game, when QICs are useful for colonizing Gaia planets and mostly rare (more so if the QIC round booster is not present), and when the main solution besides QICs is Navigation level 2 (more so if the range increase round booster is not present).
 
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Jack Spirio
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DocCool wrote:
Yeah, I've also experienced QIC richness in round 6 (or even 5), with QIC actions being gone really fast. I remember an earlier discussion about how significantly different the amount and uses of QICs are in the first half of the game vs. the second half.

However this thread is about getting range early in the game, when QICs are useful for colonizing Gaia planets and mostly rare (more so if the QIC round booster is not present), and when the main solution besides QICs is Navigation level 2 (more so if the range increase round booster is not present).

But this contains if you want to spend them early and maybe don't advance nav or if you try to keep them for later to change them for points.
 
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Jon Kern
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Quote:
But this contains if you want to spend them early and maybe don't advance nav or if you try to keep them for later to change them for points.

I use early QIC either to settle Gaia Planets utilizing Nav 2 or use the QIC for Nav to reach a home world or in the case of Terrans transdimensional planets and even sometimes as an ore when doing Academy openers.
 
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Robert
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Jack Spirio wrote:
But this contains if you want to spend them early and maybe don't advance nav or if you try to keep them for later to change them for points.
Oh, I thought that people denouncing an early (as in "by round 3 latest, but preferrably earlier") Navigation level 2 as bad were implying to use QICs for spreading out instead. It didn't occur to me that they might want avoid the Nav research AND keep their QICs for QIC actions.

But then the only way to leave the initial planet cluster is the range extension round booster (assuming non-Ivits). That sounds like a very restricting approach.
 
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Jack Liu
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Or QIC boost (+2 range instead of +3). If you can get to ~2 other clusters, you should be good until endgame
 
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David Stahle
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I think it is difficult to talk about it as a trap in a broad perspective. It sure is a very useful track and I very seldom end the game without at least Nav 2. But for some factions I would want to open with other tech track advancements and delay Nav 2 until maybe round 3. This is all factions that I like to build up with before I build out so for them maybe you can call a Nav 2 play in round 1 a trap.

Some examples

Both Nevlas and Itars I like to open with Academy and reach lvl 4/3 Science track getting to 8 knowledge income for round 2 (often followed by Economy lvl 2 and in round 3 take Nav lvl 2).

For Hadsch Halla I like to spend at least 1 tech track advancement on Economy as lvl 2 is a big boost compared to lvl 1.

For Firaks I want to invest in Economy to get their special ability of upgrade/downgrade going in round 2.
 
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David Stahle
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On further thought I think it for me is quite map dependent also. If Nav 2 would allow to me do a:

Starting planet -> Gaia planet -> Home Planet

and

Starting planet -> Single spade planet -> Home planet

I would get good early use out of my Nav 2 reach for quick expansion and income. Without such Nav 2 opportunities, Nav 2 loses its attractiveness for opening tech track. So dont fall into the "trap" of early Nav 2 if you don´t have enough good uses of it in round 1 or 2.
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James Ataei
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I'd go with the line of thought that it is map dependent. There are 3 ways to build your economy: tech tracks, tech tiles, and expand rapidly. You can also include power charging (leech) also. Nav2 helps you expand rapidly.

If you use the balancing methods (I believe provided by Stones) on the setup site http://gaia-project.hol.es (created by bpope1), then Nav2 will be less of a factor for early expansion since it does force all home planets to be at least Nav3 away. With a random map that is player rotated or generated without a balance method then Nav2 probably has a greater chance of working early which is probably why earlier topics focused more on Nav2 as being necessary early in the game.
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Robert
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
With a random map that is player rotated or generated without a balance method then Nav2 probably has a greater chance of working early which is probably why earlier topics focused more on Nav2 as being necessary early in the game.
My guess is that there are many more maps which make early Nav 2 or a bunch of QICs beneficial for the majority of factions, than there are maps which don't.

This includes the starter map from the rules which also rewards Nav 2.

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Jon Kern
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Quote:
My guess is that there are many more maps which make early Nav 2 or a bunch of QICs beneficial for the majority of factions, than there are maps which don't.

This includes the starter map from the rules which also rewards Nav 2.

When do you think players should get Nav 2 on average based on your play experience assuming that they don't have a natural inclination to open Nav like the Xenos, Gleens, and Ambas?
 
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James Ataei
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Limitless333 wrote:
Quote:
My guess is that there are many more maps which make early Nav 2 or a bunch of QICs beneficial for the majority of factions, than there are maps which don't.

This includes the starter map from the rules which also rewards Nav 2.

When do you think players should get Nav 2 on average based on your play experience assuming that they don't have a natural inclination to open Nav like the Xenos, Gleens, and Ambas?

What David said...
Steeleback wrote:
Starting planet -> Gaia planet -> Home Planet
and
Starting planet -> Single spade planet -> Home planet

If there are a lot of these on the map then Nav2 can be worth it in the first 2 rounds.

There are a lot of ways to skin a cat in this game, but I will say that if AlphaZero plays the game, it will probably find that jacking up knowledge and income will win for it because it can figure out how to most efficiently convert resources into vp. Humans can't match this number crunching so my guess is that Human only games an early Nav2 will also be a valid strategy.
 
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Jon Kern
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AlphaZero hopefully has other important things to take care of like taking over the world.
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James Ataei
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Limitless333 wrote:
AlphaZero hopefully has other important things to take care of like taking over the world.

You're thinking of Deep Mind. Alpha Zero just wants to have fun playing games.
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Robert
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Limitless333 wrote:
Quote:
My guess is that there are many more maps which make early Nav 2 or a bunch of QICs beneficial for the majority of factions, than there are maps which don't.

This includes the starter map from the rules which also rewards Nav 2.

When do you think players should get Nav 2 on average based on your play experience assuming that they don't have a natural inclination to open Nav like the Xenos, Gleens, and Ambas?
Xenos might be able to replace Navigation with QICs from AI research. As mentioned above, I think that the list of factions which would favor other stuff over Nav 2 is shorter than the list of factions which more often than not will find early Nav 2 helpful.

E.g. for Terrans it's often interesting to get Nav 2 by round 2 or so in order to assure that enough suitable Transdim planets are in range - with the potential to use a gaiaformed Transdim planet as the jumping point to another one, or a blue planet.
 
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Jon Kern
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Here is what I have done Nav wise in my plays.

Never got Nav:

Bal Taks + Ivits

Got Nav R3 or later

HH, Itars, Geodens, Terrans, Nevlas, Firaks, Bescods

Got Nav 2 R1

Ambas, Taklons, Xenos, Gleens, Lantids
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Jack Spirio
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
Limitless333 wrote:
AlphaZero hopefully has other important things to take care of like taking over the world.

You're thinking of Deep Mind. Alpha Zero just wants to have fun playing games.

Can AIs have fun?
 
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James Ataei
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Jack Spirio wrote:
JamesWolfpacker wrote:
Limitless333 wrote:
AlphaZero hopefully has other important things to take care of like taking over the world.

You're thinking of Deep Mind. Alpha Zero just wants to have fun playing games.

Can AIs have fun?

Yes, it's called AF (artificial fun).
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