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Subject: Standard Openings Update (Added Tech Step Recommendations) rss

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Jon Kern
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I'm starting to think that RL+TS+M+Econ 2/Science 2 is a better opening than RL+TS+M+M in the event that you can't secure the additional planet. My current thoughts on best openings are now the following. The economic and science openings are the most flexible and generally the best. Note Ivits can open PI+RL+SS+M(+M)

Economic:

RL+TS+M(+M) +2 Steps Economy

A+M(+M) +2 Steps Economy +1 Flexible Tech Step

Science:

RL+TS+M(+M) +2 Steps Science

A+M(+M) +2 Steps Science +1 Flexible Tech Step

Navigation:

RL+M+M+M+M(+M)(+M) Steps for Level 2 Nav (+1 Flexible Tech Step)

RL+TS+M+M(+M) Steps for Level 2 Nav (+1 Flexible Tech Step)

Note: To make these openings better than ones that generate income you need to build a lot of Mines and Trade Stations R1-R3. If you don't want to continue expanding on these rounds open Economy or Science.

Gaia Forming:

RL+TS+M(+M) Level 1 Gaia Forming +1 Flexible Tech Step Best with Nav factions for level 2 Nav and easier 2nd mine.

Note: If you have 2 or more Transdimensional Planets that don't require Nav, then this can be a good way to get planets early without a lot of investment. Can work well with a R2 TS->RL to hit level 2 Economy or Science and have 2 tech tiles worth of income. Note the lack of synergy with power income here. QIC can be a great way to reach areas with multiple adjacent Transdimensional Planets.

Artificial Intelligence:

RL+TS+M(+M) +2 Steps AI +1 Flexible Step

A+M(+M) +3 Steps AI +1 Flexible Step

Note: The goal of this opening is to get 4 QIC so that you can get an extra tech tile. If you open Academy you can use the QIC from the first 2 tech steps as ore help you afford the Academy. You can use the extra tech step to get even more QIC to take another tech tile in R2 or you can use it to move up in Science or Economy. Factions that start with extra Ore or QIC can accomplish this opening more easily as there it is less necessary to convert QIC to Ore.

How to Accomplish Openings

1. Research Lab + Trade Station + 1-2 Mines Most Common

This opening requires 1-2 home planet within range 3 of your starting planets that you can reach with QIC and/or 1-2 adjacent 1 terraform step planets or it requires level 2 Navigation. This opening requires 9 Ore so you need to acquire 2 Ore. When you power for the ore, take level 1 terraforming, or take 1 Ore + 1 QIC you can take temporary Nav+3 or the free terraform step round bonus tiles in addition to those that provide an Ore. Usually you can get 2 Mines, but not always prioritize favorable tech step allocation over the 2nd Mine when necessary.

2. Academy with or without an additional Mine

The Academy opening requires 11 ore. There are three ways to acquire 2 ore. Level 1 Terraforming, 2 Ore power action or conversion, and the 1 Ore + 1 QIC tech tile. You usually have to convert your starting QIC to ore even after taking one of these 2 Ore options.

3. Research Lab + 4+ Mines

This opening almost always requires navigation 2. You use your starting QIC and the QIC from Navigation level 1 to take 2 Gaia planets. From there you need a home world within Navigation 2 of one of the newly settled Gaia planets. This opening only requires 8 Ore so converting a QIC or taking an Ore round booster will suffice.

Edit: Deleted Recommended Factions as these openings can be done with any faction. The tech track and sector layout setup will matter more than the faction in many cases. Use late round scoring, end game scoring, and the sector layout primarily to determine faction. Use the tech setup to decide the best method of economic development. Develop economy instead of points rounds 1-3 and focus on points in rounds 5 and 6. Round 4 can go either way depending on your approach. Science strategies and Economic strategies may need to spend round 4 expanding over scoring bonuses.
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Jon Kern
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Further tech analysis that people may find helpful:

Opinions on Science track vs Economy track at various levels:

I equate 1k=1o=3c=6pwr. I am going to present a table below with a raw resource number. For simplicity ill say that coins are 1/3 value and pwr is 1/6 value.

Level----------Economy------Science
1---------------0.833-----------1
2---------------2----------------2
3---------------2.5--------------3
4---------------4----------------4

Knowledge is only useful in sets of 4, but technically level 1 and Level 3 Science are better than those levels of Economy otherwise they are about the same. Economy is more flexible which is the primary benefit.

Best Single Tech Step Gaia Forming

Also of note, 1 level in Gaia Forming is better than Economy or Science assuming you can reach a transdimensional planet each round. This is the strongest single tech step in the game, but moving up further in Gaia Forming has diminishing returns.
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Bokken B
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This is well done. I've felt the same way about equating resources before. I've just not been able to articulate it as well. Really cool stuff. Thanks for this.
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Space Trucker
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Limitless333 wrote:
Further tech analysis that people may find helpful:

Opinions on Science track vs Economy track at various levels:

I equate 1k=1o=3c=6pwr. I am going to present a table below with a raw resource number. For simplicity ill say that coins are 1/3 value and pwr is 1/6 value.

Level----------Economy------Science
1---------------0.833-----------1
2---------------2----------------2
3---------------2.5--------------3
4---------------4----------------4

Knowledge is only useful in sets of 4, but technically level 1 and Level 3 Science are better than those levels of Economy otherwise they are about the same. Economy is more flexible which is the primary benefit.

First of all I must say that I like your approach to put the track values in objective numbers! thumbsup

One thought: I always felt like generally speaking 1 Ore is worth slightly more than 1 Knowledge, at least early in the game, where players will usually have to make the decision between the two of the tracks. Easiest example would be that the 4pw>>2o power action is much more contested in the earlier game than 4pw>>2k.
And of course 6pw is worth a bit more than 1 ore or 3 coins unless one already has really a lot of it - it's often possible to get more out of it by a power action.

If we look at it like this, then we could possibly say that lvl2 and lvl4 of economy are slightly stronger than their science counterpart while lvl1 and lvl3 are probably a bit weaker (all assuming that the player has an equal need for all resources).

 
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Jack Liu
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Both tracks pair well with each other and feedback into each other. Sci track will use the extra knowledge and put it into Econ to gain the resources it needs. Econ will use those resources to build up RL/AC and gain K income

The Econ track has breakpoints you want to hit for the best value and Sci track is linear. However there are 2 key differences. Sci > Econ track will gain you 8/12 additional VP at endgame compared to Econ > Buildings. But Econ track is much more flexible as it gives you resources and power. Also Sci is very all or nothing, many times you will be floating 1-2K between rounds which drastically hurts the efficiency. If you try to combat that by hitting 8k straight up, you will sacrifice early game and could get shut out of map positioning. Also Sci is very lategame focused and that puts you behind on tempo during the critical R5/6 when people are jumping on scoring.

In a vacuum I would go Sci > Econ for max points if I had no competition. In Reality, I find Econ to be more effective or a split of Econ/Sci. I think the only race I would jump up to 8K a turn before any Econ is Itar due to their extra Ore and 3K AC.

(This is also the reason that 2k is a weaker action than 2o) in R1 you get no value out of it. And in future rounds, it’s very all or nothing if you can hit it or not. This is offputting if your strategy depends on that 4K, you don’t want to lose the game in the beginning just because you couldn’t get a power action. If there was a way that I could 100% get that power action, I could see 2k being better than 2o
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Jon Kern
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I think people just undervalue the 2k power action. Lets say you open A+2M+Sci 2. If you get the likely 1c+1k tech, you have 6k income. If you take the 2k power action R2, you then get to take 2 tech steps instead of 1. The 2k power action even works after RL+TS+2M with or without the 1c+1k tech tile. If you take the 1c+1k tech, you will have 3k income R2 and R3. The 2k power action accelerates 2 tech steps. If you dont get the 1c+1k tech it still accelerates 1 tech step. In other words, I think the 2k power action provides significant advantages and should be contested starting in R2. R1 it can't provide an additional tech step so it doesn't make sense to fight over it. Note, It can make sense to take the 7 power 3k power action R1 if you start with the 1o+1k round booster. This scenario is unlikely to play out and only works if you have additional power, but it is notably possible with the Ivits, Itars, and Terran.

I actually think that 2k power action is probably in theory the best 4 power action as 4pwr converts to 1k, but 3pwr converts to 1 ore and 4pwr coverts to 4c. This means that the k power action doubles the value of your power where as the coin and ore actions provide a significant return, but less than double the return per power spent.
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Jack Liu
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Yea I think the 2k action is likely the strongest because it gives you significant returns on tech. The issue I have with it is hinging my early/mid game on getting it at pivotal points, because that can cripple you if you are relying on it for critical tech levels like Nav2, TF3, GF. I think that’s why people avoid depending on it

By mid game/late, usually you can have a backup plan of getting the 2k fed or have other ways to spend your resources if you don't get enough K for a tech that round
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Mark Alexander
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Thanks for this analysis (and that in your other thread too). Very useful. I feel I am missing something though as I struggle to see how some of these openings are possible without very specific round boosters.

Now I will say upfront that I tend to play solo on a very balanced setup using http://gaia-project.hol.es. As such, opportunities for power leech in R1 (and therefore powering for ore) are almost nonexistent. A such to be able to do some of these openings I pretty much have to go to Nav 2 or TF 2 which means I can’t go to Econ 2 / Sci 2 etc.

Take for example RL+TS+M(+M)+Econ or Sci 2. Even 1 additional mine requires 8 ore. If you have a home world within Nav 3 it is fine as You can reliably grab 1 ore from a round booster and QIC over. A Gaia within Nav 3 (Gaia planets are never adjacent) can work if the 1 Ore + 1 QIC tech tile is in the right place or you can grab the QIC booster. If relying on an adjacent planet that requires 1 step of TF you Prett much have to go to TF2 to get the 2 ore and reduce the TF cost to 2. Again if the 1 ore + 1 QIC tech tile is positioned OK that is a way to get to 11 ore (trading both QIC for ore). The TF booster works too obviously.

The A+M(+M)+ Econ / Sci 2 + 1 Flex step would also seem exclusively reliant on having the 1 ore + 1 QIC tech tile in the right place or committing to TF 1 as the flex step to get the 2 ore.

Basically the 1 ore + 1 QIC tech tile seems very important. Given this is a one off bonus, I am also weary of taking it in R1 compared to an income bonus which will be more beneficial in the long run even if it doesn’t kick in until R2.

Grateful your thoughts on what I may be missing or on good openings for solo play where powering for ore (or indeed anything) in R1 is not reliable.
 
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Jon Kern
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I think you need to look at how you are setting up the game. Picking factions that cooperate and choosing a faction that works well with the setup will allow you to perform a stronger opening and score more overall.

Quote:
Now I will say upfront that I tend to play solo on a very balanced setup using http://gaia-project.hol.es. As such, opportunities for power leech in R1 (and therefore powering for ore) are almost nonexistent. A such to be able to do some of these openings I pretty much have to go to Nav 2 or TF 2 which means I can’t go to Econ 2 / Sci 2 etc.


I think you are not playing the solo setup to maximize your score as it was intended. You should do the following playing solo.

1. Pick factions yours and the autonoma that work well together on the map.

2. Turn the tiles so that it is beneficial to your faction. Extra home planets within range 3, single terraform planets, homeworlds that you can be reached via nav 2 with an in between 1 terraform planet or gaia planet.

Quote:
Take for example RL+TS+M(+M)+Econ or Sci 2. Even 1 additional mine requires 8 ore. If you have a home world within Nav 3 it is fine as You can reliably grab 1 ore from a round booster and QIC over. A Gaia within Nav 3 (Gaia planets are never adjacent) can work if the 1 Ore + 1 QIC tech tile is in the right place or you can grab the QIC booster.


You should almost never choose a faction without a home planet within range 3. You can choose to not have a home world within range 3 if and only if you are opening Nav. If you are Ambas and maybe Gleens, you can open an Academy and get to 2 Nav round 2. The only other situation is that you are playing Ivits. These are the only situations you can afford to not have a nearby homeworld. Don't forget that the planet can be within range 4 if you take the +3 Nav action round booster.

Quote:
If relying on an adjacent planet that requires 1 step of TF you Prett much have to go to TF2 to get the 2 ore and reduce the TF cost to 2. Again if the 1 ore + 1 QIC tech tile is positioned OK that is a way to get to 11 ore (trading both QIC for ore). The TF booster works too obviously.


A few points here:

1. Never move up Terraforming round 1 past level 1. I'm sure its possible to construct a situation where you should, but I have not seen it.

2. The free terraform action from the terraform power action and round booster tile are very strong leverages these early game to place additional mines.

Quote:
The A+M(+M)+ Econ / Sci 2 + 1 Flex step would also seem exclusively reliant on having the 1 ore + 1 QIC tech tile in the right place or committing to TF 1 as the flex step to get the 2 ore.


There are three ways to gain 2 Ore.

1. Level 1 Terraforming

2. Using power either from the 2 Ore power action or conversion of 6pwr to 2 ore

3. The 1 Ore + QIC tech tile.

Remeber that You usually have to convert your starting QIC to ore even after taking one of these 2 Ore options.

So you get 11 ore with the following formula.

Starting 7 usually (easier if more obviously)

Starting QIC

Round booster

2 from 1,2, or 3 above.

11 Total.

Quote:
Basically the 1 ore + 1 QIC tech tile seems very important. Given this is a one off bonus, I am also weary of taking it in R1 compared to an income bonus which will be more beneficial in the long run even if it doesn’t kick in until R2.


Don't take the 1 ore + 1 qic tech without a specific plan. An academy opener is a good reason to take this tile if it lines up favorably with the tech track you want to move up.

Remember it is okay to open RL+TS+M and level 2 in a favorable tech track, typically Economy 2 or Science 2. However, if you are going to do this opening instead of a better one, make sure you have a plan for settling more mines otherwise you may be ore starved all game.

Also feel free to check out the play by forum games, everyone always open with good openings. The Firaks often open RL+TS+M because they start with 1 less ore. hope this helps.
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Mark Alexander
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Many thanks for the quick and well considered response.

All of that makes sense and pretty much confirms the issue is the way I set up play. I am not sure I agree that the point of automa play is to try and engineer the highest acore. Certainly I couldn't see that in the rules. I would also question why have different difficulty levels if that were the case. I see the automa as an opponent you should try and beat. Thats the way I like to play anyway and why I like having the balanced, conpletely random setup.

That said, I think you are right that I can still rotate the board pieces to make it balanced to my faction. That is in the rules (well actually you should set up the game board before choosing faction but that doesn’t really matter when playing solo as you would just pick the faction for the way you have aet up the board).

Thanks again.
 
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Jon Kern
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Quote:
All of that makes sense and pretty much confirms the issue is the way I set up play. I am not sure I agree that the point of automa play is to try and engineer the highest acore. Certainly I couldn't see that in the rules. I would also question why have different difficulty levels if that were the case. I see the automa as an opponent you should try and beat. Thats the way I like to play anyway and why I like having the balanced, conpletely random setup.


On the hardest difficulty, even creating an optimal setup, it is often still hard to beat the autonoma. It almost always scores over 200.
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