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Subject: Exploring New Frontiers: Non-Military Worlds rss

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Brent Celmins
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Other articles in the series:
Small Developments
9-Cost Developments
Military Worlds

The Explore bag comprises 15 Novelty worlds, or 25% of all worlds in the game. They are common, they are cheap, and they are useful. While you certainly don’t need Novelty worlds to win, making good use of the most common worlds in the game will go a long way to helping you develop more advanced strategies. The Consumer Markets-Novelty P/C engine is obvious. But diversity, Military, goals, Uplift, Rebel, and development spam can also all benefit from the affordable Novelty worlds.

Devolved Uplift Race Windfall World ($0/1 Colonist/1VP No Special Benefits)

The price is certainly right for a Novelty windfall world with no phase benefits. The real value in this world is the Uplift. You don’t need money or military to settle it, and while the goods on the genes Uplift worlds are worth 3 times as much, Devolved Uplift World is still a net financial gain if you decide to Trade the good. This world can also be helpful for non-military players trying to squeeze some value out of the Faction Tolerance goal.

Artist Settlement Production World ($1/1 Colonist/1VP No Special Benefits)

Your ground-floor, no frills, just-get-me-started-with-something production world. Without any phase benefits, Artists Settlement seems fairly limited on its own, but having goods flow early is necessary to a lot of non-military strategies, and while there are certainly better novelty worlds in the bag, the value of a $1 production world shouldn’t be underestimated.

Imperium Survey HQ Production World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP Explore: After your Explore pick(s), draw one world from the bag)

The reason I like extra explore draws so much is because they allow you strategic flexibility regardless of whether you’re going civilian, military, or developments. Even if you’re drawing the worlds at random, there’s a lot you can do with an extra draw or two in the explore phase. The fact that this world is an Imperium tile and a production world makes a bit of a Swiss army knife.

Gem World Production World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP Produce: Gain $1 when you produce on this colony)

Gem World is a solid building block of a strong Novelty P/C engine. The produce bonus is a nice mid-game economic boost, coupled with Spice World and it becomes an economic powerhouse.

New Vinland Production World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP Consume: Consume 1 good for $2)

Don’t think of it as consuming one good for $2. Think of it as trading two goods for +$2. Timing is critical in NF, and being able to pull out $5 in a single phase can be more valuable than earning $6-8 over two rounds.

Novelty Peddlers Production World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP Settle: -1 Cost or +1 Military toward Novelty worlds)

Not a great investment for the discounts. There are only three Military Novelty worlds, two of which are 1-strength. The non-military discount is better, but there are worlds that offer stronger economic boosts than a specialty world discount toward worlds that are usually pretty cheap to begin with. It’s a standard cheap Novelty production world which can round out an empire for certain needs.

Refugee World Windfall World ($2 /1 Colonist/1VP Explore: Gain 1 Colonist)

Finding a source of extra colonists outside of the Settle phase is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, having them ready to deploy means you can take advantage of Settle when others activate it. On the other hand, it accelerates the game clock as the colonist pool gets depleted in two phases. You may need the colonists, though, if you are drawing some of the more powerful 2-colonist worlds, or for Conscription. Not everyone is going to have a chance at getting Homesteading Pioneers.

Spice World Production World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP Trade: +2 when selling a Novelty good)

One of the best worlds in the game to draw on the first Explore phase, Spice World turns your Novelty colonies into Genes colonies… at least in terms of the trade value of the goods. It makes producing and selling single good from Gem World is worth $4. Then consuming the good on Spice World other good with Galactic Advertisers or Consumer Markets is worth an extra $1 and a VP. It’s dreadful when an opponent with Starry Rift Pioneers or Earth’s Lost Colony gets this world.

Retrofit & Salvage, Inc Production World ($2/2 Colonists/1VP Develop: Gain $1 after developing)

Development powers don’t come cheap in New Frontiers. Retrofit & Salvage, Inc. may not require a lot of cash, but it does need an extra colonist. Get this world into your empire early, and it’s a terrific source of passive income, especially combined with Investment Credits.

Galactic News Hub Windfall World ($3/2 Colonists/2VP Consume: Consume 2 Novelty goods for 3VPs)

There are a lot of ways to turn Novelty goods into VPs, so while earning 1.5 VPs for 2 goods sounds good, Galactic News Hub is not the best way to convert your blue goods. First, GHN is a windfall world, which will slow the rate of churn unless you have Terraforming Specialists or are committed to taking Produce every round. Second, it’s a 2-colonist world, but has the same dollar cost and intrinsic VP value as Consumer Markets. It doesn’t provide the bootstrapping cash kicker that CM or Galactic Advertisers does. Also, you can activate CM with 1-3 goods, GHN needs exactly two goods to activate.

Prosperous World Production World ($4/2 Colonists/3VPs Consume: Consume 1 good for $1 and 1VP)

A much more expensive Galactic Advertisers, albeit a far more valuable one. Prosperous World is a natural fit into any P/C player’s empire since it’s consume power is not limited by kind.

Interstellar Trade Port Production World ($5/2 Colonists/3 VPs 1VP Consume: Consume 1 good of each kind you have for $1 and 1VP each)

If Diversified Economy is in the game, this can serve as a decent replacement for Galactic Exchange without the 10VP kicker. The good news about this world: its goods production type counts towards its own consume ability. The bad news, if you’re going heavy Novelty, this world isn’t going to do much for you.

Rare Elements worlds have a lot more combo potential than Novelty, but they’re more expensive on average. RE production worlds need a lot of colonists (only 1 our of 6 of the non-military RE production worlds needs one colonist) and more cash. The benefits they yield can be very powerful. Mining Robots changes the value and composition of RE significantly, as it turns borderline useless worlds like Asteroid Belt into dirt cheap RE production worlds. There are 13 RE worlds, 9 non-military.

Asteroid Belt Windfall World ($1/1 Colonist/1VP, No Special Benefits)

Turns $1 into $2, but still requires a colonist. Doesn’t serve much function unless you also have Mining Robots. One of the weaker worlds in the game, and one you should only settle if your empire is specifically set up for it.

Imperium Gem Arms Dealers Windfall World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP, Settle: +2 Military)

There is only one other non-Military world in the game that provides permanent military strength, and it costs $4 and 2 colonists, so if your start colony is a non-military production world, this is a terrific first explored world to grab. Also has some marginal 9-cost dev appeal and goal value with the Imperium faction.

Destroyed World Windfall World ($2/1 Colonist/1VP, Explore: Gain 1 Colonist)

A slightly more valuable Refugee World.

Imperium Arms Factories Production World ($3/2 Colonist/2VP Consume: Consume up to 2 rare elements goods for $1 & 1VP each)

Imperium Arms Factories highlights why the Novelty P/C engine is such an excellent path to head down. Consumer Markets is guaranteed to be available in every single game. IAF needs to be explored first, and then you need to source 2 colonists, and then you still need to settle it. However, as a RE production world, it feeds its own machine, and if you have one of the two RE production start colonies, you have a fully operational P/C engine running very quickly.

Jumpdrive Fuel Refinery Production World ($3/1 Colonist/2VP Settle: Gain $1 after settling a world)

Passive economy generation is crucial if you’re going to maintain strategic flexibility throughout the game. Combine this world with Terraforming Robots and/or Replicant Robots and you have a major leg up in the Settle phase.

Imperium Munitions, Inc. Production World ($4/2 Colonists/2VP per Imperium Tile: Settle: +2 Military)

The other non-Military world that provides permanent military. It’s a production world, which justifies its 2-colonist cost, but at $4, it’s not the easy early-game grab that Imperium Gem Arms Dealers is.

Uplift Mining Moles Production World ($2/2 Colonists/2VPs Produce: Gain $1 when you produce on this colony)

Getting money for producing is just annoying for everyone else. Getting a the only non-genes Uplift production colony into your empire provides a lot of strategic flexibility. It’s a 2-colonist world, but a cheap one, and well worth it, at that.

Comet Zone Production World ($3/2 Colonists/3VPs Produce: Gain $1 when you produce on this colony)

I’d rather have the Uplift faction in exchange for the VP of Comet Zone. But, if you can only get this, it’s still pretty good. That passive income is still worth it early game.

New Earth Production World ($5/2 Colonist/5VP Consume: Consume up to 1 rare elements good for $1 & 1VP)

An expensive world that has a consume power that is restricted to Rare Elements. It’s ostensibly the missing piece to Imperium Arms Factories’ RE P/C engine, and like IAF, it’s a production world that feeds its own machine. But notice the 1:1 cash-to-VP ratio, Except for Artist Settlement, Uplift Mining Moles, and Comet Zone there is no other production world in the game that shares this VP density. There’s a reason.

There are 11 genes worlds, 8 of them are Uplift, most of those are Military worlds. With five 2-strength worlds that are worth $3 each in trade, Uplift can (and often is) a primary source of income for Military strategies. Players with Contact Specialist or Pan-Galactic Diplomats can pull a lot of value out of genes worlds, too. The three non-Military green worlds that aren’t Uplift very powerful, but expensive.

Ancient Uplift Race Windfall World ($2/1Colonists/2VP No special benefits)

The non-military genes windfall world, so it’s more expensive to get into since you have to lay out cash for it and Contact Specialist doesn’t help settle it. Probably the least valuable Uplift world as a result, but that’s relative because of Uplift’s scoring potential.

Deep Space Symbionts Windfall World ($3/2Colonists/1VP Develop: Gain $1 after developing a tile)

A 2-colonist windfall world had better give you something special in return, and Deep Space Symbionts doesn’t disappoint. The coveted develop power it provides is wonderful passive income generation, and combining it with any of the other development powers makes your empire very powerful. Oh, and the $3 good it comes with can help you spin up some of those developments, like say Terraforming Specialists which turns this world into a much sought-after Genes produciton world.

Uplift Coalition Production World ($4/2Colonists/2VP per Uplift Colony, Produce on a Genes Windfall Colony)

Situational, but has the potential to be one of the strongest worlds in the game. One of four (!!) potential Uplift scoring tiles in the game that also turns one of your green Uplift colonies into a production world.

Designer Species, Ultd. Production World ($4/1Colonists/4VP Consume: Consume 2 Genes goods for 3VPs)

Including Hive Colony, there are exactly 5 genes production worlds in the game, so getting this Consume power online is not an easy feat. It costs a lot of cash, but if you have another genes production world to actually activate the power, then cost shouldn’t be an issue.

Lost Species Ark World Production World ($5/2 Colonists/3VP Produce: Gain $2 When you produce on this world)

A single produce/trade cycle pays for this world on its own, however you need to have the $5 and 2 colonists on hand to settle the thing. But when you do, it’s a production beast.

Alien worlds are so cost prohibitive, it’s difficult to get most of them down early without Alien Researchers and/or Alien Rosetta Stone World (or at the very least, Replicant Robots). If you manage get both AR and ARSW, you’re basically all-in on Alien worlds. The payoff is significant, though, as the most expensive/strongest Alien worlds can generate as much VP as a 9-Cost development.

Alien Oort Cloud Refinery Special Windfall World ($1/1 Colonist/1VP May not Trade this good. May choose the kind of world each phase and at end of game. When producing, may choose kind of good produced on this world)

A quirky little Swiss army knife of a world, its value is in the consume powers and end-game scoring conditions. It’s a beast of a world to have when you’re working on any of the diversity vectors (Diversified Economy, Galactic Exchange, and Diversification goal). But it’s also useful for those worlds that require two of a specific kind to fire off consumption (Designer Species, Ultd.; Galactic News Hub, etc.).

Deserted Alien Outpost Windfall World ($5/1 Colonist/4VPs, No special benefits)

One of two non-military Alien Windfall worlds. The lack of special benefits makes this and Deserted Alien Settlement luxuries unless you have some settlement discounts.

Deserted Alien Settlement Windfall World ($5/2 Colonist/5VPs, No special benefits)

An extra VP for an extra colonist. In that regard, this could be the worst 2-colonist world in the game. Even New Earth is a production world with a phase benefit.

Alien Robotic Factory Production World ($6/1 Colonist/3VPs, Produce: Gain $2 when you produce on this colony)

In some ways, this is a better Lost Species Ark World. They effectively do the same thing, but money is generally easier to come by than colonists. Having an Alien production world early in the game can be a bonkers advantage… that is if you didn’t go broke settling the thing.

Alien Data Repository Production World ($7/2
Colonist/6VPs, Consume: Consume 1 Alien good for 2 VPs)

You basically need Alien Researchers and/or Alien Rosetta Stone World early to make this world worth the effort in the early game. But if you do manage to get one (or both), running P/C just twice is equal to most 9-cost devs.


There only three non-Military gray worlds in the bag, and all of them have a 1:1 cost-to-VP ratio. That should tell you something about the value of most production worlds in New Frontiers.

Alien Rosetta Stone World Gray World ($2/1 Colonist/3VPs Settle: -3 Cost or +3 Military when settling Alien worlds)

Speculative, but it can be handy to shave off a few bucks or points of strength to get some of those juicy Alien worlds down. It’s a world worth considering if you pull it with a bunch of other mediocre worlds in your first Explore activation. Especially if no other Alien worlds are in the draw.

Tourist World Gray World ($4/1 Colonist/4VPs Consume: Consume 2 goods for 3VPs)
Tourist World is Old Earth 2.0, except you’re not stuck with it doing absolutely nothing at the beginning of the game. It has the same problem as Old Earth (you need exactly two goods to activate it), but it doesn’t have to be colonized until you’re ready for it.

Galactic Trendestters Gray World ($5/2 Colonists/5VPs Consume 1 good for 2VPs)

Thought experiment: you have Artist Settlement as your only production world and Galactic Trendsetters as your only goods-to-VP consume power If you manage to get Prosperous Economy and Galactic Salon, every time you are the one to activate Trade/Consume, you will earn six VPs. Add just one crank of that particular engine to the intrinsic value of Galactic Trendesetters, and you’ve earned enough VPs to rival most 9-cost devs.
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