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Subject: Annotated Play by Plays-BGA rss

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Udelar Johnson

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Hi everyone,

I'm trying to improve the level and rigor of my own play, since we have this game available now on Board Game Arena. I know that having the game available to play with a variety of opponents means that we have experts as well as people just starting out. I’d say I’m fairly good, not among the best, but my rank typically fluctuates anywhere between around 10th and 30th.

I have found that for other games, reading turn-by-turn analysis from the players has helped me understand how high-level concepts play out in an actual game. And, as I look back over some games I've played, I find that moves that I thought were fine at the time are likely not the strongest moves I could have made.
With that in mind I’ve taken to posting some full game turn-by-turns here from my viewpoint with analysis and what I was thinking at the time. Some abbreviations you’ll see:
T# -- turn number
A:-- Action Phase
R: -- Role Phase
C: -- Cleanup Phase
C—Colonize card, action, or role symbol
P—Politics card or action
Pr—Produce role, action, or role symbol
R—Research card, action, or role symbol
S—Survey card, action or role symbol
T—Produce/Trade card, Trade action, or Trade role symbol
W—Warfare card or role symbol
ImpX (+Y)—Improved Role cards. For example, the Improved Survey with a Colonize symbol would be abbreviated ImpS (+C).
I will spell out full technology names for Level 2 and 3 cards the first time you see them in a game, and after they are researched I will abbreviate them in whatever way makes sense to me.

Planets will have one word spelled out and will be abbreviated after they appear. They will be described the first time they appear as (Colonize cost, Goods, Influence value, Role symbol). I do not list the Fighter cost because it’s generalizable from the Colonize cost. All 2C worlds cost 2F, all 3C worlds cost 6F, all 4C worlds cost 5F, and all 5C worlds cost 4F. The planet type can be deduced by either the resource type or the role symbol (each planet type can have only the same role symbols as the Level 2 research cards in that stack). Fertile planets will always have Food or Water Resources (and may have both). Advanced planets usually have Silicon and those without will have Research or Trade. Slightly over than half of Metallic worlds have Iron, can have the symbols Survey or Warfare, and a planet without either a role symbol or a Resource will be Metallic.

At the beginning of each of my turns I will state the cards in my hand, and at the beginning of each opponent’s turn I will note the number of cards in hand. I will try to remember to make a note of each of my shuffles. I’ll also point out other interesting things about the board state.

I’m starting with a game I won somewhat handily. I’ll include lots of other types of setups, both with and without scenarios. The only thing I don’t really enjoy is 3-player extended mode, so you probably shouldn’t expect to see any games with that setup.

Let's begin, shall we?
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Udelar Johnson

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Udelar vs. GlennR #45679240!table?table=45679240

Udelar vs. GlennR #45679240
Udelar gets Terraformer (Terraforming: C C, add this card to a planet and then flip the planet if you have fulfilled its cost), Fertile start. Deck 3S 0W 1C 1T 2R 2P TF
GlennR gets Mobilized (Mobilization: SW, add 2 Fighters, you may attack a planet after your Role Phase), Fertile start. Deck 1S 1W 0C 2T 2R 2P Mob
Options: Scenarios On Extra Turn On
T1 U: C R S S TF
A: TF Mesia (2C, Water, 2I, None), flipping it. +2 points score U:2 G:0
R: S x3
Choices Erkam (5C, Metal, 3I, W) Mik-Mik (5C, Food, 3I, C), Kyrie & Juno (3C, none, S, 4I)
Chooses Kyrie
C: draw 3
G: dissent
Comments: Choice made on basis of low C cost and S assistance early game. Mik has a valuable C symbol but will take many turns to work out while I can settle Kyrie next pass through the deck. With a standard start I would probably take Mik and flip it through W, but starting with 0 W means that is a longer process. I hold onto C to place it on Kyrie next turn and R because I am likely to draw the other R in the deck so that I can start getting level 1 technologies. My draw leaves me with just S P in the deck so I am ready to get a tech next turn.

T2 G: 6 cards
A: P, grabs W
R: W x3 (3 Fighters total)
C: discard R R T, draw 4
U: dissent, draw S
Comments: Using P to go into W is an interesting choice for this start. Mob gives 2 fighters anyway so a more standard start I’ve often used when I don’t draw Mob in my opening hand is A: P, grabbing S, R: S for as much as I can, try to grab a 5C world so I can next turn A: Mob, lead W x2, and attack the world with Mob after my role phase. Grabbing W here gives him the ability to instead attack a 4C world, but the cost is that he will not be able to follow S without the symbol from Mob.

T3 U: C P R R S T
A: C, +1 Kyrie
R: R x3, grab Imp R(+C)
C: discard P T, draw P (shuffle) S T
G: dissent
Comments: Holding on to S due to GlennR’s need to survey. Planning on Researching some cards away during this pass through the deck. Since both of us started with Fertile worlds there’s going to be a lot of contesting over the 2 ImpR in the Fertile tech stack as that’s one useful way to jump into getting Level 2 technologies—getting started soon is crucial.

T4 G: 6 cards
A: P, grabbing W
R: W, attacking Drawde (2C, Food, 2I, none) +2 points U: 4 G: 4
C: discard W T, draw 1
U: dissent
Comment: Not using his role here to S means he will only have 1 S for his next shuffle and leaves me a hole that I can exploit. Notice the W he discarded as well—he played P, grabbed W, but then just discarded the W he gained. He is likely thinking that getting more W in his deck will be helpful in future passes, but without the ability to effectively S for more planets his fighters will sit idle.

T5 U: P S S S T Imp R
A: Imp R drawing TF, removing P T
R: S x4
Choosing between Voson (4C, Metal, 3I, S), Idroyos (3C, None, 5I, None), Ral Gai’Gaw (4C, Silica, 3I, T), Lyttle (4C, Silica, 3I, R). Choose Lyt
C: draw P R R R
G: follow x2, grab Fertile 3C
Comments: GlennR still only has 2 S symbols (1 from Mob), so he must either dissent or play his Mob much less effectively. I rid myself of a starting P through my R action and also trash my T card. I choose Lyt for the R symbol having a high utility, even though it may delay me having a matching planet type. I now have 1 of each type explored, which is normally a weak start, but with GlennR’s lack of S I have more time than I usually do to pick a direction. I have TF in my hand to finish Kyrie next turn. My hand is now P R R R TF. I have only S in my draw pile to draw if I dissent from G’s Role. I am surprised to see him follow here using the S symbol from the Mob he must have drawn—so surprised that I had to check his discard to see how it happened.

T6 G:
A: P, grab R
R: Rx3, grab Imp R (+P)
C: discard Imp R, draw 4
U: Follow x3, grab Imp T (+ C)
Comments: He plays P into R here, and then uses that R to grab the other ImpR. This gives him 5 R symbols in his deck but he still only has 1 planet flipped over. He doesn’t hold onto the ImpR to thin out his deck here, so he’s probably planning on getting some fighters next turn. I have 3 R in hand so I follow and grab ImpT (+C) so that I have an option to get higher C cost worlds or set up multiple cheap worlds. I may use the action a time or two but this one is primarily for the C on its role symbol.

T7 U: P TImpT TF
A: P grabbing C
R: Cx3, 1x Kyrie (ImpT), 2x Lyt
C: draw S (shuffle) R S S
G: dissent
Comments: I grab C here with my other P so that I have enough symbols for a 5C world if I find one that has something I need. Grabbing R might have been a more traditional play here, but with 3 different world types explored I’m obviously not in a hurry to go to level 2 technology. I set up two worlds for TF. I put more C than needed on Lyt to remove that card from my deck for a while.
T8 G: 6 cards
A: Pr (1 food)
R: W x4 (5 fighters total)
C: discard R R, draw 5

U: dissent, drawing S
Comment: His hand must have been R R T W W W. His W doesn’t give him enough fighters to attack his face down world. Given that hand and his situation I would have played R to remove T W and led W for 3. The Mob in his deck would give him 6 fighters sometime during the next go around (or he can lead W again, as he later ended up doing) and he’s got an abundance of W in his deck. He’s discarding R just before this shuffle, so he probably wants to hurry and flip his second planet and then re-draw that R.
A: TF Kyrie (flipping, +4 points, score U: 6 G: 2)
R: S x5 (4 from cards)
Choosing from Marghannah (4C, 3I, +1H) Artigas (3C, Food, Water, 2I, P) Nelos IV (5C, Food, 2I, +1H), Zephan (3C, None, 4I, T), Sholmican (3C, Silica, 4I, None)
Choice: Zephan
C: draw S S ImpR
G: dissent
Comments: Chose to settle Kyrie due to it boosting the S I had in my hand, and the fact that GlennR is likely to lead S a time or two to get more planet choices. The planet choice was a tricky decision because I could have taken Artigas for a quicker start into Fertile Ground (I had one Fertile already flipped), but GlennR might be able to take that quicker because of the extra R in his deck and if I lose that race there isn’t much else to recommend in Fertile technology. 1 card left in my deck is R. I expect GlennR to play Mobilization and lead either Research or Survey. If GlennR leads Research I can follow and pick up an Imp C (+S) to place on Zephan since I now have an Advanced planet flipped. If GlennR leads Survey, I’ll peek at the top card—I plan to follow if it’s Fertile or Advanced and I’ll dissent if the top is Metallic. Since I’m almost through the deck, I consider some options for the next go around—it’s unlikely that I will have 2 matching planets during this trip through the deck, so I expect to use my Research to get rid of some Surveys and in the long run set myself up for Data Networks into Adaptability.
T10 G: 6 in hand
A: S
R: W x4 (9 Fighters total)
C: discard T, draw 2
U: Dissent, drawing R
Comment: Guess he didn’t draw Mobilization. Notice he has more fighters than he needs for the next planet (6). He must have had a W in hand before—he could have gained some tempo here by A: W R: W, attack the planet, then racing through his deck for his R to get a level 2 tech (I imagine Fertile Ground would be the best match). He held on to 3 cards here after playing S as his action. One of them could be mobilization but it’s likely the other 2 are R.

T11 U: R R R S S ImpR in hand
A: ImpR, drawing ImpT removing S S
R: R x3, grabbing ImpR (+S)
C: Discard R, ImpT, draw S S S S
G: Follow x3, getting Imp W (+P)
Comments: I decided to take the opportunity to pare down my deck. I led R from my belief that GlennR’s next turn will be Attacking the other Fertile world and then either Researching a 5R tech (if he has 4 of his R in hand) or Survey (if he doesn’t), but I’ve been very poor at predicting his moves this game. His follow surprises me as he’s not hurting for fighters and could easily grab a level 2 tech this pass if he saved R for that purpose.

T12 G: 2 in hand
A: Mob
R: W, attacking Angus Daffy (3C, Food + Water, 3I, none) (+3 points, score U: 8 G: 7)
C: discard ImpW T, draw 5
U: dissent, drawing C
Comments: I don’t know what to make of this turn—there’s no reason he should want to grab another warfare. I ask him about it in the chat.
Udelar You don't have to tell me, but I'm curious as to why you led Warfare your last turn. You could have attacked the planet using Mobilization's ability after your Role phase and done either a different role or gained fighters off of the Warfare.
glennR I meant to, but the cursor was hovering over the wrong card and I inadvertently pressed it ☹
glennR I wish this game had a confirmation button

T13 U: C S S S S ImpR
A: ImpR drawing TF, removing S S S
R: S x3 (2 from cards). Planet choices Spielbany (4C, Water, 2I, +1H), Spielen (5C, Metal, 2I, +1H), Mishburr (5C, Food, 3I, Pr). Choice is Sbany
C: (shuffle) draw R, S, ImpR (+S)
G: dissent
Comments: Weak planet choices here, so I go with the 4C world.

T14 G: 6 in hand
A: T (1 Food) +1 point. Score U: 8 G:8
R: R x3, gaining ImpS (+P)
C: discard W W W, draw 4
U: Dissent, drawing ImpT

T15 U: C R S ImpR TF ImpT
A: TF Lyt, flipping it, +3 points. Score: U 9 G 6
R: C x3, +1 Zeph +2 Sbany (putting ImpT on Sbany)
C: Discard R S ImpR, draw R R R S ImpR
G: dissent
Cmoments: Drew all my research here a bit too early to make use of it. I set up two planets to where they just need a TF and flip my third planet. I discard everything to rush to the next time through my deck.

T16 G: 6 in hand
A: W, +1 Fighter (6 total)
R: S x3, choosing 4C Fertile
C: discard W W W, draw 5
U: Follow x2 (1 from card), keeping Oknow (4C, Silica, 2I, +1H)
Comments: Following allows me to get a level 1 Research one more time before my shuffle, as well as getting me my third Advanced planet. Otherwise I would need to shuffle now and either keep the R cards in my hand or lose access to them this trip through my deck. The planet is not nice but is good enough especially since I now have 3 Advanced planets.
T17 U: R R R ImpR (+C)
A: Skipped
R: R x3, getting Imp C (+R)
C: Discard R R ImpR (+C), (shuffling) draw R R S ImpR (+C)
G: dissent
Comments: My hand looks quite similar to the hand I had last turn. I still need to go through my deck and get a planet settled before I can start getting Level 2 research.

T18 G: 6 in hand
A: W, attacking Gerdland (4C, Water, 3I, Pr) +3 points, score U 9 G 9
R: Sx3, choosing 5C Advanced world
C: discards T, W, ImpW
U: Follow x2, grabbing New Texas (3C, Food+Water, 2I, C)
Comments: I would not have followed if the planet hadn’t been Fertile. The fact that it was Texas as well made everything much better. With the discount from this planet I can spread C out even more and I don’t have to wait for TF to come around every time.

T19 U: R R ImpC (+R) ImpR(+C)
A: skipped
R: C x3, 1 on Texas, ImpC on Sbany, ImpR on New Texas
C: discard R R, draw R R S ImpR TF
Comments: Texas makes me move my plans around a bit. If I get that flipped, I can flip Zeph and Sbany with a discount meaning they need only 1 more C instead of 2. So I use my Imp tech that has C on it to set up Texas for a TF, Zeph (3C) with 2 C, Sbany (4C) with 3 C. I discard everything to get to my TF quicker, and am fortunate enough to draw it this turn along with 3 cards with R symbols on them so I can get a a new tech as soon as I flip a planet. If GlennR doesn’t get Fertile Ground this turn I’ll flip Texas and take it, giving me a discount of 2 C on all future worlds.

T20 G: 6 in hand
A: W +1 Fighter
R: R x1—gaining nothing.
C: discard T W, draw 2
U: Dissents, drawing C
Comments: I’m not sure what to make of his turn here, so I’m just not going to analyze it. Another misclick perhaps?

T21 U: C R R S ImpR(+C) TF
A: TF Texas (flips) +2 points, score U 11 G 9
R: Rx5 (4 from cards) gaining Fertile Ground (Permanent, C Pr R) +2 points, score U 13 G 11
C: discard S, draw C R R TF
Comments: This turn went very well. I discard the S to race through my deck.

T22 G: 6 in hand
A: ImpS
R: Rx5, grabbing Artificial Intelligence (C Pr Action: Add 2 cards from the stacks to your hand) +2 points, score U15 G13
C: discards W W W Mob, draws 4
U: Dissents, drawing R
Comments: AI is a poor replacement for FG but does put the level 3 Fertile tech within his grasp.

T23 U: C C C R R R TF
A: C, settling Zeph, +4 points, score U19 G 11
R: Rx5, grabbing Data Network (R R, Action: Draw 2 cards. Remove any number of cards in hand from the game) +2 points, score U19 G11
C: discard C, draw R, ImpR (+C)
Comments: I am putting a significant number of C back into my deck that I no longer need. At this point I have 2 R in play between Lyt and FG. I will need to remove Colonies which DN will help with. I discard the C as I plan to TF my last Advanced next turn. I am pleasantly surprised after my draw to see that I will have enough R to TF Oknow and grab Adaptability next turn. With all of our R, there are only 2 R left in the stack at this time so the game is almost over, making those C more or less irrelevant. Score is Udelar 19 GlennR 11
G: dissent
T24 G: 6 in hand
A: S
R: W x3 (6 total fighters)
C: discard S S, draw 2.
Comment: None, all that’s left is to play this out.

T25 U: R R S ImpR TF DN
A: TF Oknow, +2 points, score U 21 G 11
R: R x 7 (5 from cards) grabbing Adaptability, +5 points, score U 26 G 11
C: discard S, draw R R R S ImpR(+S)
G: dissent
Comments: With only 2 R left in the deck, taking 1 of them and gaining 7 points seems likely to assure my victory with this score differential. I see G could potentially earn 9 points by researching a level 3 Fertile and flipping a planet that might be worth 4 points, but I don’t see more possible points than that for him.

T26 G: 6 in hand
A: AI, grabbing R, W
R: W, attacking Sima (4C, Silica, 2I, +1H) +2 points, score U 26 G 13
C: discard W W W draw 2
U: dissent, draw DN
Comment: These are just about the last points GlennR can grab. He may have a hand full of 6R to grab a permanent Level 3 Fertile tech to get 5 more points but that won’t close the gap.

T27 U: R R R R S Imp R(+S) DN
A: S
R: C, settling Sbany, +2 points, score U28 G 13
C: Discard ImpR, ImpR, draw C
Comment: I hold on to R just in case he leads it for the final turn. Otherwise I don’t see more than 1 point for him by doing P action then leading T.

T28 G: 7 in hand
A: Pr (1 food)
R: R x5, grabbing Genetic Engineering (P P Action: Gain 1 Influence for each TYPE of resource you trade this turn) +2 points, score U 28 G 15
C: discard W, draw 4
U: Follow x7, (5 from cards) taking Dissension (Permanent, Draw 1 additional card when Dissenting), +5 points, final score U 33 G 15

Game Analysis: The lack of Survey from GlennR in the early game meant he was always scrambling to get planets to use his fighters on. Meanwhile my exploitation of this early game hole allowed me to finish with a commanding lead.

I’ll pick a more evenly matched game for my next writeup.
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Udelar Johnson

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Here's one I didn't win. ehrlichperson is consistently top 15-20 and we've played a few times. He's won most of the games we've played.

Udelar vs. ehrlichperson #45706185!table?table=45706815
Udelar gets Bountiful Harvest (Abundance: Permanent, Produce 4 Resources. When you Settle or Attack a Planet, Produce 2 Resources) (Special: Each of your resource slots can hold +1 resource) Fertile start. Deck 3C 0P 1R 3S 1T 2W
Ehrlichperson gets War Path(War Path: W W, Action: Attack up to 2 planets), Metallic start. Deck 0C 0P 2R 3S 2T 2W

Options: Scenarios On Extra Turn On

U in hand: C R S T W

Start Game Comments: War Path and Bountiful Harvest are 2 of my least favorite Scenarios. I recently wrote an off-the-cuff analysis of Bountiful Harvest, so this seems like a good time to try out some of the ideas I posted about. War Path’s action may or may not get used, but the 2 W symbols on it will see quite a bit of use. Both scenarios start with 3 S and 0 P, so they’re both fast setups.

My starting hand of one of every card does not leave me in a strong position. I imagine that my opponent will R: S leaving me to Dissent on turn 1. Generally, I’m going to want to let my opponent lead W to force him to take that card into his deck, which means I’ll mostly be leading C to settle planets and follow with my 2 W in the deck to flip any that have high C costs.

T1 e: 5 in hand
A: R, removing t
R: S x2, choosing 3C Advanced world, discarding betzel (3C, None, 4I, W)
C: draws 3
U: dissent drawing S
Comments: Removing a T gives me a bit freer hand to explore P/T early with my Abun start. Neither of those seem like very strong start planets for ehrlichperson. For him to keep the Advanced world it almost must have had a R symbol on it.

T2 U: hand C R S S T W
A: W, +1 fighter (1 fighter total)
R: S x3, choices Sima (5C, Silica, 2I, +1H), Styku (4C, Water, 3I, C) Mik-Mik (5C, Food, 3I, C) choose Mik
C: discard C, R, T, draw C C S W (shuffle) T
e: dissents
Comments: No 3C worlds showed themselves, so I have made do with a 5C that I will plan on using W to settle. The C symbol on here gives me a small benefit if I can get it settled early but with Bountiful Harvest start I don’t plan on getting very many planets. My next hand is a likely candidate for grabbing the R I need to eventually start getting techs.

T3 e: 6 in hand
A: R removing S T
R: W x4 (5 fighters total)
C: draws 5
U: Follow x1 (2 fighters total)
Comments: Removing his other T means I can freely set up a P/T engine as soon as I get some planets settled. It also indicates that he might be rushing towards Scorched Earth Policy which is generally a good move for a war path start.

T4 U: C C S T
A: S, drawing R S
R: R x1—gaining role only
C: discard C C R S T, drawing C S S W (shuffle) R
e: dissents
Comments: I play S because I need to go through my deck quickly and get back the W I played in order to attack the planet. I lead R because I need another R to do any Research at all. This hand doesn’t’ have a real strength so I decide to grab my second R now. I keep no cards in my hand because I see that I will draw enough S to follow if ehrlichperson leads S

T5 e: 6 in hand
A: W, attacking Pieda Seca (2C, Metal, 2I, None) + 2 points, score U 0 e 2
R: Research x3, gaining ImpR (+S)
C: discard S, draw 2
U: dissents, drawing S
Comments: I’m uncertain what to make of his early sprint towards ImpR(+S). I’d have expect ImpR(+W) instead due to War Path needing a constant stream of fighters. As I’m thinking about my turn, I check his discard, which shows R R R S W. He has only 1 card left in his deck, so unless that is War Path he is holding onto 3 W in his hand. Therefore if I lead W he gets a significant edge in that he will have enough fighters to attack his facedown Advanced planet next.

T6 U: C S S S S W
A: C +1 on Starting Fertile
R: S x5, choosing between 8910 (5C, Metal, 2I, +1H), Spielbany (4C, Water, 2I, +1H), Lyttle (4C, Silica, 3I, R), Texas (3C, Food+Water, 2I, C), Angus (3C, Food+Water, 3I, None). choose Texas
C: draw C C T W
e: follow x3, keeping Metallic 4C, discarding Artigas (3C, Water+Food, 2I, Pr)
Comments: I have all my S in my hand. Since Mik has a C symbol on it, 1 colony on my start world will be enough to flip it after I get Mik flipped. I figure that ehrlichperson has about 3 W and 3 S in his hand which means either role I have will benefit him at least a little, but with all my S in my hand I have a chance to get a really nice 3C world, and I do in Texas. The extra resource slot is just what this deck needs, and the second C symbol at this stage is worth far more than the one point on Angus. Ehrlichperson has only S and W left in his deck, so I expect him to follow my S and then lead Warfare during his turn to collect more fighters. I have a much better than even chance that I draw my second W symbol from the 6 remaining cards in my deck with a draw of 4 cards, and I do. Ehrlichperson throws away one of my best potential planets in Artigas, but I have 3 Fertile already.

T7 e: 5 in hand
A: skipped
R: W x4 (6 fighters total)
C: draw 5
U: follow x2 (4 fighters total)
Comments: His turn went as I expected it to go. He shuffles after drawing 1 so I no longer have insight into what is in his hand.

T8 U: C C T
A: C, +1 on Texas
R: W, attacking Mik, +3 points, score U 3 e 2, +2 Food from Abundance
C: discard T, draw R R (shuffle) S W
e: follow x3 (10 fighters total)
Comments: Leading W is much less dangerous for me than it was last turn since he will want to hold on to a W to attack a planet and he’s just shuffled. I put a C on Texas to start preparing it and lead W to flip Mik, making my start planet also ready to be flipped. As I begin to discard, I think that my next turn I will colonize my start planet as an action and since my draw pile has only R R left in it, I expect I will lead R next turn. This leaves my T as a dead card, so I toss it.

T9 e: 3 in hand
A: W, flipping Srod (3C, none, 4I, R), +4 points, score e6 U3
R: R x 3 (2 from cards) grabbing ImpS(+R)
C: discard R, draw 4
U: dissents
Comments: He held on to the ImpS, and his only other R card in the deck wis the ImpR he picked up. Still, he likely has that in his hand as well. This would be a safer time for me to lead W as well, excep that I don’t think I need very many more planets to begin setting up my P/T engine.

T10 U: hand C R R S S W
A: C, flipping Drawde (2C, Food, 2I, None) +2 points, score u5 e6, +2 Food from Abundance
R: Research x3, gaining ImpR(+P)
C: discard S S W, draw S S T W
e: dissents
Comments: I need the C on Drawde back in my deck this shuffle to get Texas next shuffle without leading C. To build my P/T engine I will need to get rid of some of the many cards I have for flipping planets, which right now are 3C 3R 5S. I have remaining in my draw pile 3 S and 2 W, so it makes sense to grab ImpR now so that I can whittle that down, even if it likely prompts a follow from ehrlichperson. I need R as well to grab a related level 2 tech (most likely Genetic Engineering). I have S S remaining in my deck after drawing. ehrlichperson can likely follow my R role, and if so, I expect he will gain ImpW(+R). Then he will either lead S or W (attacking his 4C Metallic). I lean towards the second option as that will open him up to getting level 2 technology during the next run through his deck.

T11 e: 5 in hand
A: ImpR, removing S S
R: S x2, keeping Metallic 4C, discarding Kyrie (3C, Non, 4I, S)
C: discards R, draws 3
U: dissents, drawing S
Comments: I expected his turn to go quite differently. It is possible he didn’t have the other R in his hand.

T12 U: S S T W W ImpR
A: ImpR drawing S removing S W W
R: T x2, trading 2 Food. +2 points, score U7 e6
C: discard SS, (shuffle) draw C S S T W
e: dissents
Comments: As I mentioned before, I want to start shrinking my deck size now. While normally I would keep W to profit off of his leads of W, this time with a discount of 2C I feel I can get a lot more out of colonizing 1 or 2 more worlds. Mainly, though, I want to start building my P/T engine, so I T. Since I will now shuffle, I think about some things I could accomplish during my next run through the deck. I have 4 cards with R symbols in my deck, so I could go ahead and aim for Genetic Engineering with my 2 settled F worlds if I’m willing to go slowly. I could instead continue to use the R action to transform my deck, lead Pr or T as appropriate and continue to build my eventual late-game engine. Looking at the discarded worlds, I don’t see any with a T icon so it might be helpful to try for one. Specialization would be rather nice this game since I have 6 spots that can right now hold Food.

T13 e: 5 in hand
A: ImpS
R: W x4 (8 Fighters total)
C: discard R S S ImpR
U: dissents, drawing S
Comments: He needs more fighters to attack either world. I suppose he drew a lot of S and R early since he throws those away. Meanwhile all of my R is in my deck still. I dissent from the Warfare and plan through my turn. I want to put another C on Texas, and I can either T (+2 points0 S (look at 4 planets) or C (settle Texas) next turn as my role.

T14 U: C S S S T W
A: C, +1 Texas
R: Sx4, viewing Hanoj (5C, Silica, 3I, T), Ral Gai’Gaw (4C, Silica, 3I, T), Erkam (5C, Metal, 3I, W), Oknow (4C, Silica, 2I, +1H). Selecting Ral
C: discard T W, draw C R R S T
e: dissents
Comments: I decided to S and got lucky that I drew one with a T symbol that I could afford with my deck. With only 2 R left in my deck I don’t have to sacrifice much tempo to grab Genetic Engineering.

T15 e: 6 in hand
A: W, flipping Marghannah Prime (5W, None, 3I, +1H) +3 points, score U7 e9
R: R x 5 grabbing Scorched Earth Policy (Permanent, -2 to your warfare costs, no Resources on Attacked planets). +2 points, score U7 e11
C: discard R, draw 5
U: dissents, drawing R
Comments: This was the turn I was expecting. As I plan my next turn (and next run through the deck, as I have only R left in my draw pile) I consider my options. I would only want to trash the Survey in my hand right now, so it makes sense to hold on to my Research and grab a level 2 tech. Genetic Engineering seems like a very strong choice, but I shouldn’t neglect Terraforming which would be very helpful with me with the C discount I have.

T16 U: C R R R S T
A: C, flipping Texas, +2 points, score U9 e11
R: T x2, trading 2 Food, +2 points, score U11 e11
C: discard S, drawing ImpR (shuffle) C
e: dissents
Comments: Since I’ve just shuffled, I don’t have much opportunity to fine-tune my deck during the next shuffle. My R being at the bottom of my deck removed that opportunity from me. I can, though, get Genetic Engineering next turn, and play it for 2 points the turn after that.

T17 e: 7 in hand
A: ImpR, removing S W
R: S x2, choosing 3C Advanced, discarding Gerdland (4C, Water, 3I, Pr)
C: Draws 2
U: dissents
Comments: The cards he kept are likely Research. I think he wants to rush a Lvl 3 tech (Logistics or Productivity would both be strong for him). The planet he kept can’t have an R symbol because he’s already played Srod which is the 3C with an R. I draw S when I dissent and briefly think about diverting into S for my role since I see an attractive 3C Advanced on the pile, but I decide to stick with my original plan.

T18 U: C R R R S ImpR
A: C, +1 Ral
R: R x5, getting Genetic Engineering (P P, Action, +1 Influence for each TYPE of resource you produce this turn. +2 points, score U13 e11
C: discard S, draw S T T W
e: dissents
Comments: A 5th R in my deck from leading it this turn gives me a lot more breathing room—now I can continue to fine-tune my deck slightly each run while also possibly picking up a level 2 Tech when appropriate. It won’t matter until I get to the bottom of my deck, though, because right now they’re all in my discard pile. I hold on to GE only. The lowest pile of cards in the game now is S which still has 4 cards so I don’t need to worry about an abrupt end of game. I can focus from here on out on getting as many Influence chips as I can.

T19 e: 7 in hand
A: W, flipping Tankahshin (4C, Metal, 3I, W)
R: W x6 (5 from cards)
C: draws 3
U: dissents, drawing T
Comments: I again suspect he’s holding on to R cards since there aren’t any in his discard pile.

T20 U: S T T T W GE
R: Pr x4, getting 1 Water 3 Food
C: discard SW, draw C C S S S, +2 points from GE, score U15 e14
e: dissents

T21 e: 7 in hand
A: W, flipping Zephan (3C, None, 4I, T), +4 points, score U15 e23
R: R x 7 (6 from cards), getting Logistics (Permanent, Play Action and Role in either order, extra turn at end of game)
C: draws 5
U: dissents, drawing (shuffles) GE
Comments: Dissenting here causes a shuffle, which is good as I don’t want my S and C left in hand to go into the discard pile this turn. Drawing GE here when I’ve already filled almost all of my slots is not a move I would have preferred. ehrlichperson just shuffled so it’s difficult to know what is in his hand. As I plan out my turn I remember the 3C world on top of the planet deck this time. It can’t have T or R because he’s already flipped those planets with that cost and those symbols. It has to be Sholmican because that’s the only 3C Advanced we haven’t seen. This means it has a resource and is worth 4 points. Without much else to do in my hand I decide to spend a role phase grabbing it.

T22 U: C C S S S GE
A: C, +1 Ral
R: S x1, grabbing Sholmican (3C, Silica, 4I, None)
C: discard S S S GE, draw R S T ImpR
e: dissents
Comments: I see 7 cards left in the Planet deck and a quick count tells me only 2 of them are Advanced. By taking this Advanced world off the top I also deny ehrlichperson the ability to get a third Advanced world which he will need for a second 5 point tech. He’ll have to go hunting for it. My chances of drawing both are not good so this seems like the action that will best delay him getting to 3 Advanced and 5 more points. [AFTER GAME THOUGHTS: I could have played GE next turn for 2 points had I not discarded it here]

T23 e: 7 in hand
R: Survey x4, choosing Rose (5C, Silica, 3I, R)
A: (played later due to Logistics) W, attacking Rose, +3 points, score U15 e26
C: draws 3
U: dissents, drawing R
Comments: Well, he was able to draw down to it anyway. I dissent as I don’t need any more worlds, and think about my choices. I can filp Ral this turn and do a t for 3, which seems like my best option. I could instead play Imp R and get rid of a S and possibly one other card. I decide to go with the first option. I have some trouble deciding what to discard this turn. If I keep all my R in hand, I have the option of grabbing Terraforming if my draw goes right. But all this does is get me th points I would get for Sholmican quicker, so I decide to instead keep only ImpR with the aim of thinning out my deck with my last action. I still have 3 T left to draw so there are a lot of points left in my deck as well.

T24 U: C R R S T ImpR
A: C, flipping Ral, +3 points, score U21 e26
R: T x3, trading 2Food 1 Silica, +3 points, score U24 e26
C: discard R R S, draw R S T T
e: dissents

T25 e: 7 in hand
R: R x 7 (5 from cards) grabbing Adaptability (Permanent, your standard Research roles gain all symbols), +5 points, score U24 e31
A: W, collecting 1 fighter
C: draws 4
U: dissents, drawing R
Comments: Well, the good news is that he’ll have a hard time maintaining this rate of growth and there are still 2 Surveys left in the smallest role stack. I dissent since I only have 2 R, and plan out my turn. If I use A: S, I can draw both remaining cards, one of which is a P/T, and gain 4 points this turn. Or, I can ImpR, removing S and 2 other cards (either R or the W if I draw it) to thin out my deck just before shuffling. I go with the second of those choices.

T26 U: R R S T T ImpR
A: ImpR, drawing T, removing R R S
R: Tx5, trading 3Food, 1 Water, 1 Silica, +5 points, score U26 e31
C: draw C (shuffle) S T T W
e: dissents
Comments: I was hoping for a stronger draw off my next hand, but I’m glad I focused on removing R.

T27 e: 7 in hand
A: ImpS
R: R x7 (5 from cards), getting Weapon Emporium
C: discard W, draw 6
U: Dissent, drawing S
Comments: Weapon Emporium is going to make this a lot trickier as he can generate lots of fighters. I may need to be careful with the timing of my T roles depending on his ability to follow. 3 of his standard R are in his discard right now so this is more of an issue during his next trip through his deck. Looking at my hand, I see I only drew 2 T, so Pr is not a strong lead right now. I can instead go ahead and use my turn to flip Sholmican which will give me resources through Abun for next turn.

T28 U: C S S T T W
A: C, +1 Sholmican
R: C, flip Sholmican, +4 points, score U30 e33, +2 Food through Abun
C: discard S S W, draw C R T
e: dissent
Comments: One more Produce but still no GE. My good cards seem to have a habit of being far down this game.

T29 e: 7 in hand
A: ImpR, removing S S ImpR
R: W x6 (5 from cards) (7 total fighters)
C: draw 4
U: dissent, drawing S
Comments: Thinking about this turn, I definitely want to Pr. I can use my A: to either R, removing C S, Trade, earning 1 point and reducing my Pr by 1, or S, getting 2 cards closer to my GE and 3 bonus points. In the end I decide that while I’m likely to shuffle the deck again, I’m not likely to get most of the way through my deck, so trashing cards isn’t as useful. And the point I gain from T now would be just a point I’d gain also later by leading or following T. [AFTER GAME THOUGHTS: I had a T in play here, so I could have followed for a point with no cards.] So I Survey.

T30 U: C R S T T T
A: S, drawing T S
R: P x4, making Foodx2 Silica x2
C: discard C R S, draw C R T GE
e: Pr x1, getting 1 Metal
Comments: Due to the online interface I have to produce both Food on Texas in order to access the Water.

T31 e: 5 in hand
A: ImpS
R: T x6, trading Metal, 5 Fighters (Weapon Emporium), +6 points, score U30 e39
C: Draw 6
U: dissents, drawing ImpR
Comments: Every Follow I can make reduces my points from GE next turn. 4 points left in the Influence pile—this game is about to be over.

T32 U: C T T R ImpR GE
R: Pr x3, producing Water, Silica, Food
C: discard C R, 3 points from GE, score U33 e39
e: follow x1, producing 1 Metal
Comments: By leaving 1 point there I’ve made it more difficult for him to end the game this turn and given myself a little bit more opportunity to T.

T33 e: 5 in hand
R: S x4, choosing 4C Metallic world
A: (reordered due to Logistics) W, attacking Pink Sonar (5C, Metal, 3I, S), +3 points, score U33 e42
C: discard W, draw 6
U: Dissent drawing T
Comments: I am kind of surprised he didn’t lead T here to grab the last point and declare end of game. If he’d done so I don’t think I’d have any chance of catching up during my last turn.

T34 U: S S T T T T
A: S, drawing C T
R: T x 7 (leaving only 2 Food on Texas), +7 points, score U40 e42
C: discard C S, draw S T W ImpR GE
e: follow x1, trading Metal, +1 point, score U40 e43
Comments: At this point I can only get 3 points from GE, which won’t beat the tie-breaker. Plus ehrlichperson has an extra turn due to Logistics that I don’t see any way that I can outplay.

T35 e: 5 in hand
A: ImpS
R: Warfare x 8 (7 from cards)
C: draw 6
U: dissents, drawing C
Comments: Might as well play this out

T36 U: C S W T ImpR GE
R: Pr x3 Food, Water, Silica
C: discard C, S, W, draw 5, +3 points from GE, score U43 e43
e: dissents
Comments: Final turn due to Log plays out.

T37 e: 7 in hand
R: Trade x 8 1 Metal 7 Fighters, +8 points, score U43 e51
A: W, +1 Fighter (1 Fighter total)
C: doesn’t matter
U: Follow x3 +3 points, score U46 e51
Post-Game Comments: 2 mistakes that I have noted (worth potentially 3 points, so not enough to swing the game), but there were probably others. It seems difficult to finish all the things that need to be done with this start, especially against a focused start like War Path and a solid player opponent. I’ve attempted to note where I had obvious alternatives and why I made the choices I did. Still, I lost to a player who's probably at least a bit better than I am.
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