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Subject: Gaia Forming and relevant tech track rss

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Jason Lewis
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I've been able to find a little bit of discussion online about gaiaforming, but the last two 2-player games I played, I made an attempt at making a gaiaforming strategy work. Once with the terrans and once with the orange race (not the one that gets 3 wisdom for each new planet type, but the other one).

I had read that delaying until about round 3 was a decent strategy, but found that as long as you arent doing it right away round one, you can probably start sooner. The reason I'm starting this thread, is I would like to hear some more individual strategies and success rates, in any 2-4 player games. In 2 player at least, it seems that this strategy isnt sufficient. Its not that gaiaforming itself is bad, its that it detracts from CRITICAL other early moves. With most races, you can only focus on 2-3 tech paths at a time, and 3 is stretching it unless you go hard for wisdom. If one of those paths is the gaiaforming path, you're getting little to no gain in the meantime for that track. Add to this the fact that transdim planets will run out, AND, gaiaforming is completely useless in the final round of the game....I just cant see how to make it work, except in edge cases. Seeing all three of those little gaiaformers on my board doing nothing in the one of the most important rounds of the game is depressing.

Another added issue is that you will be using few to none of the power expenditure options (like 2 ore for four power). Some rounds you can, yes, but since the power pieces come into play and move around BEFORE the gaiaforming step, this means you will likely not be using those actions very often. In a 2p game, this means your opponent (recently I played against the Icars so this effect was 2x worse. Idk, help me see a use for gaiaforming lol. Or rather, a use for going more than ONE step up that tech track. Thanks!
 
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Jack Spirio
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just 1 step in GF gives you 5 extra planets over the game, so that's a strategy every race can follow
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Dave C
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If you're still feeling out gaiaforming strategies, I would suggest getting used to them with gaiaforming specialty factions first, as they don't have nearly as many downsides to doing it as other factions: Terrans (obviously benefit from gaiaforming with or without their PI), Itars (huge number of tokens, synergizes with their PI ability), Bal T'aks (they actually don't have to gaiaform, but considering they almost always want to rocket up gaiaforming to get more QICs each round, they can often gaiaform as a legitimate option). After that, there are some factions that are a little better at gaiaforming: Bescods ("free" bump up to level 1 gaiaforming, +2 power token income on PI), Ambas (+2 power token income on PI), Ivits (+1 power token generation right from the start of the game, doesn't need to manage tokens as carefully for satellites). Beyond those factions, gaiaforming becomes a lot trickier and often more of a tactical decision based on what else is going on.

I would not gaiaform early on with the other factions without some strong incentives to do so. I find the 1 ore/+2 power token round booster can help almost any faction gaiaform effectively, improving any factions' ability to cycle power sufficiently. Alternatively, any faction going up to at least level 2 of gaiaforming can do it effectively, although that is a bigger commitment that carries opportunity costs along with it. Investing into level 2 gaiaforming will often be associated with how much your ROI will be on continuing going up gaiaforming or how many total science bumps throughout the game you will get.

One general rule of thumb I use for gaiaforming with only 6 power tokens is how much power I'm losing if I do it. I try to only do it if I'm only losing <= 2 total power cycle (that is, moving 2 tokens from bowl II or 1 token from bowl III for gaiaforming). In an ideal situation, you would have all 6 power in bowl I at the end of the round when you gaiaform, since it won't lose you any cycle, but it's hard for that to actually happen since spending 6 power in bowl III cost effectively is not really possible. I also wouldn't obsess over doing it as early as possible for the non-gaiaforming factions: sometimes you can use it effectively only snagging 1 or 2 planets throughout the game. I've found trying to force myself to get 5 extra planets is sometimes not worth the investment.
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Phil Hendrickson
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I don't see gaiaforming as a core strategy upon which to base an entire game plan. Rather, I see it as one way to extend your network on the map and possibly score some bonus points due to round bonuses or tech tiles. How much a player gaiaforms, and when, will depend greatly on the map layout and how much competition there may be for the transdim planets.

This game ia all about maximizing your scoring opportunities at the lowest potential cost. Gaiaforming is one opportunity to watch and see where it fits into your growth plan.
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Jason Lewis
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DrumPhil wrote:
I don't see gaiaforming as a core strategy upon which to base an entire game plan. Rather, I see it as one way to extend your network on the map and possibly score some bonus points due to round bonuses or tech tiles. How much a player gaiaforms, and when, will depend greatly on the map layout and how much competition there may be for the transdim planets.

This game ia all about maximizing your scoring opportunities at the lowest potential cost. Gaiaforming is one opportunity to watch and see where it fits into your growth plan.


I agree with this to a large extent, however, with any game I always try to see how to force the absolute max out of an individual strategy. The wisdom path in this game for instance, going super hard on wisdom per turn and tech acquisition CAN in fact be a dominant strategy, as can others. So I guess what I'm currently looking for is a way to see the gaiaforming strategy be able to do the same, even if its only an edge case. But, you and the others are probably right, that its more of a splash tactic than a strategy. So I'm still holding hope someone will show a way that it can indeed dominate, but now that I think of it, this strategy is also highly interruptable.

Another note, I remember reading there are 10 planet types. Transdim planets count towards extra planet types for appropriate techs and victory conditions right (after being gaiaformed)? But do transdim planets that have been gaiaformed also count for gaiaform planet bonuses? I think they do, which actually means that transdim planets are a double point boost if the right conditions are there. Idle thoughts. I did gain 24 points from the advanced tech that cares about gaia planets because of this and wanted to make sure I did that correctly.
 
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Getting 3 gaia formers is normally not a good option. Even two can be too many, but might be good.

Some are more happy about it than others, and some setups suits it better.

The 4 power tech tile can help getting something out of the power, especially combined with having a few extra power (eg. from second step of the gaia forming track).

If noone else is going for gaia forming, it's often strong. It makes it easier to form federation since it should be easier to get more planets close to each other (even though you might want to wait with making them, since you need quite a lot of power in the bowls).

Of course the power should always be mostly spent from bowl 1.

Going up more than one step can be strong when:
Terrans wants to exploit their PI
Nevlas at step 3 can get one gaia planet + one tech tile for 4 discarded power tokens, which can be quite strong - and it's makes it much easier to grab 4-5+ tech tiles with their ability - at least that's my experience. Also the 3 extra powers from step 2 is very good for them
Gleens can go quite hard for gaia planets points - especially with the tech tile and with round scoring (if opponents aren't blocking (taking gaia planets), this could lead to MANY points in late rounds with gaia scoring - at other times, they might not want to gaiaform at all)
Bal T'aks obvoisly gets good stuff, even without gaia planets, but should grab some too, and go up the tracks.

If one of those races, is getting the gaia engine going, others might just make one bump to harm them a bit. If there is scoring for getting mines on gaia planets, it's better too.
Level two's three powers might be quite good for many races, but in general, i mostly find it's just those four races that wants to go more than one step up for gaia forming purposes - and especially the Terrans might often just take one step.
 
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Jon Kern
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Quote:
This game ia all about maximizing your scoring opportunities at the lowest potential cost.


Very much this.

In other words, the issue you will run into with Gaiaforming is that moving up Gaiaforming is expensive in terms of resources and low payoff early in the game.

If you want to compare things to a standard strong income opening, every opening has to be compared against an Academy opening with 1-2 mines. The three tech steps being Terraforming1 and Economy2. That opening gives you the following income:

3-4 Ore + 3 Knowledge + 2 Credits + 2 Power Charge + 2 Tech Tiles.

So when considering a different line keep in mind what you are potentially giving up.

Gaiaforming is best to pursue when you can take advantage of the plethora of Gaia Planet scoring opportunities. Combining many of the below can secure a win and sometimes a strong convincing win depending on the level of Gaia/Trans Planet competition.

1. 3VP -> Gaia Tech

2. 3VP/4VP -> Gaia Round Bonus

3. 4 Credits/1VP per Gaia Booster Tile

4. 2VP/Gaia Advance Tech

5. 4VP+1VP/Gaia Top of GaiaForming Track

Also, you want to balance upgrading actions with building actions. Only the first 2 mines are particularly efficient. In most cases, I try to maintain only 2 Mines on the board for income purposes. I often have more than 2 Mines on the board during the game, but it is either to capitalize on a scoring opportunity or to setup a scoring opportunity and not for income purposes alone.
 
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Jason Lewis
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You maintain only two mines? What average scores are you seeing? Are you only trying for one federation per game? I find that three federations is a fairly easy goal and you can assume at LEAST 24 points average plus the resources PLUS the ability to tech up further and/or get advanced techs. Our games are averaging around 120-135 points per player lately, but we are fairly new to the game. I did get a 178 point game as the red race that starts with their PI on the board and keeps expanding their federation to get more federation tokens. They were fun to play.
 
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Dave C
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Maintaining 2 mines is do-able for most of the game, as long as you're generating ore elsewhere (econ track, round boosters, feds, tech tiles, etc.). I prefer to get "over the hump" (that is to say, > 3 mines out) earlier rather than later, but it's highly setup and faction dependent. It's probably hard to hit 4 feds doing that, but I think the difference between 3 and 4 feds is not as big as some might think.
 
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Jon Kern
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mbuna120 wrote:
You maintain only two mines? What average scores are you seeing? Are you only trying for one federation per game? I find that three federations is a fairly easy goal and you can assume at LEAST 24 points average plus the resources PLUS the ability to tech up further and/or get advanced techs. Our games are averaging around 120-135 points per player lately, but we are fairly new to the game. I did get a 178 point game as the red race that starts with their PI on the board and keeps expanding their federation to get more federation tokens. They were fun to play.


I average scores around 160-180 depending on the setup.

You generally need more than 3 ore per round, but the ore tech tile, ore feds, round boosters, econ track, terraforming track, power actions/conversions QIC track etc. all generate additional ore.

Also, you must get over the hump for most end game scoring so as a result of needing to compete for scoring opportunities I will almost always have 4+ mines on the board, generally round 4 and after, but forming a 4th federation is often not worth the loss of potential tech steps or shorting yourself on other resource types because you prioritized ore a lot more than other resource types.
 
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Jason Lewis
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that seems like a high number to be average in your games. Maybe I'm missing some core opening strategies. I could try with automa tonight. What type of opening is your standard then? barring race specifics of course. Are you finding that generally shooting for the PI in the first turn is best? Which specific path are you going to ensure you have enough ore to do things on round two then? And subsequently round 3? Since going the PI route round one means no tech tile, I find that makes it very hard to build unless you trade in super early in round two and just stock resources. Guide me lol
 
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Jon Kern
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I have a lot of material written about this, but opening Academy + 2 Mines is most often the best opening economically. Take 1 Step in TF for the ore and 2 steps in Economy.

You need 11-12 ore. 7 starting + 1 round booster + 2 TF gives you 10. You can always at worse convert QIC to an ore.
 
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Jon Kern
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Here is a series of links to various strategy topics. I don't agree with everything at this point, but a lot of food for thought.

Basic Strategy Principles (The perspective of a Terra Mystica player) https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1921506/basic-strategy-prin...

Categories of Factions https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2015072/categories-factions

Standard Openings Update (Added Tech Step Recommendations) https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2042414/standard-openings-u...

Standard Openings https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1974293/standard-openings

Beyond the Early Game (A Guide to Scoring) https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2045607/beyond-early-game-g...

Econ Track too good? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2014291/econ-track-too-good

Investing in the Science tech track https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1954035/investing-science-t...

Navigation Research - unavoidable for most factions? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1882017/navigation-research...

Navigation an Early Game Trap? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1993539/navigation-early-ga...

Q.I.C.s - where to get, and where to use
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1882864/qics-where-get-and-...
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Jason Lewis
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Limitless333 wrote:
I have a lot of material written about this, but opening Academy + 2 Mines is most often the best opening economically. Take 1 Step in TF for the ore and 2 steps in Economy.

You need 11-12 ore. 7 starting + 1 round booster + 2 TF gives you 10. You can always at worse convert QIC to an ore.


I will take a look at these links thank you for posting them. But from the hip, how are you getting three tech advances, and by what round? If you go PI in round one, I dont see how you're doing even a second tech advance. And beyond that, You're also probably not getting a tech increase in round two unless the stars align with power actions and round bonus cards.
 
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Jon Kern
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I have not mentioned getting a PI in this thread. I have only recommended an Academy. Opening a PI is typically very poor.
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Ryan Feathers
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mbuna120 wrote:


I will take a look at these links thank you for posting them. But from the hip, how are you getting three tech advances, and by what round? If you go PI in round one, I dont see how you're doing even a second tech advance. And beyond that, You're also probably not getting a tech increase in round two unless the stars align with power actions and round bonus cards.


From what you quoted, he is saying open with an Academy, not your Planetary Institute. By opening with the Academy you are getting 2 tech tiles which provide 2 tech bumps as well. You get one tech bump from your starting knowledge. That means you can end R1 with 3 total tech advances (using his suggested opening that would be Terraforming 1 and Economy 2)

I've done this a few times and agree it is a very strong opening. I would in general argue that opening with your Planetary Institute is a trap--for almost every faction. You're better off going for the Academy opening. Alternatively another fairly popular suggestion is to aim to end R1 with a Research Lab, Trading Stations, and 2 mines. That takes a similar level of ore and is also a bit tricky to do, but is quite strong if you can manage it. The thing is both of these openings provide you with a tech tile which those are quite strong in R1 (particularly the economic ones) and opening on some tech tracks as well is good. Opening with your planetary Institute just doesn't do enough to get your economy going or providing needed tech advances. As such open with one of the other suggestions and then aiming for a R3/R4 Planetary Institute often works much better.
 
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Jack Spirio
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Just a clarification: Transdim are gaiaphormed to Gaia planets, this count as gaiaplanets for anything, but there is no way (yet) to build on transdim, though you can only have 9 different planet types (7 base, Gaia and lost)
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Jason Lewis
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man this is what I get for trying to read stuff online at work. I apologize, I've been reading this whole thread thinking we were discussing opening with the PI and confused at how we could make that work reliably and still gain techs and thinking I was just missing something vital.

Its always my procedure with new games to play out several different ways in 2p with my girlfriend so in larger group settings I understand better why things work and they dont. (plus this lets her get some early victories against me if I try things like dedicated gaiaforming strats and draws her into the games better since she doesnt like to lose)

Thank you for all the replies. And This is another reason I love BGG. Even when I misunderstood, I didnt face a bunch of troll threads but rather some patient responses
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Jon Kern
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No problem at all. I'm still learning how to time PIs best also.
 
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Erik Bagger
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Limitless333 wrote:
Here is a series of links to various strategy topics. I don't agree with everything at this point, but a lot of food for thought.

Basic Strategy Principles (The perspective of a Terra Mystica player) https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1921506/basic-strategy-prin...

Categories of Factions https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2015072/categories-factions

Standard Openings Update (Added Tech Step Recommendations) https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2042414/standard-openings-u...

Standard Openings https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1974293/standard-openings

Beyond the Early Game (A Guide to Scoring) https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2045607/beyond-early-game-g...

Econ Track too good? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2014291/econ-track-too-good

Investing in the Science tech track https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1954035/investing-science-t...

Navigation Research - unavoidable for most factions? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1882017/navigation-research...

Navigation an Early Game Trap? https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1993539/navigation-early-ga...

Q.I.C.s - where to get, and where to use
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1882864/qics-where-get-and-...


Thanks John! You're an amazing contributor on this forum.
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Jon Kern
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Quote:
Thanks John! You're an amazing contributor on this forum.


Thank you! I'm just obsessed with this game and am not particularly good at it. The combination of these factors make me want to think about Gaia Project a lot. Probably too much.
 
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Jack Spirio
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Limitless333 wrote:
[I] am not particularly good at it.

you don't need to hide either
 
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Timmi T.
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timidus wrote:

[...]
Nevlas at step 3 can get one gaia planet + one tech tile for 4 discarded power tokens, which can be quite strong - and it's makes it much easier to grab 4-5+ tech tiles with their ability - at least that's my experience. Also the 3 extra powers from step 2 is very good for them. [...]

I have really trouble understanding what you mean by this...

Are you implying, that powertokens moved to the gaja-bowl due to gaiaforming will yield Nevla 4k(nowledge) / or even a tech token ?
I don't get it, so could someone enlighten me please?

mb Thanks mb
 
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Jack Spirio
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I think he mixed them up with Itars
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Timmi T.
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Jack Spirio wrote:
I think he mixed them up with Itars


OK. Still a bit general to put things, but I can live with that statement.

PS: Don't forget to vote for GP on this years' GeekMadness
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