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Subject: What in the world and am i doing wrong?!? rss

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Walker Stippel
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This in my 3rd play through. The first two times were against the Automa. I did absolutely terrible.

The first game i scored 52 points and the second was 70.

I looked on BGG forums and saw that above or around 100 was fairly low and saw the high score forum and saw that people were getting scores close to or above 200.

So i decided to play against myself playing 2 factions in an attempt to understand the game better and hopefully have some sort of break through.

The score : Me-59 (Terrans) VS. Me-34 (Nevla)

I've read the rules maybe 8 different times, watched 4 different videos and have browsed the BGG forums. I'm pretty sure i'm scoring correctly. But i am absolutely terrible at this game. The pics are after the 6th round and are of the end game.

 
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Robin Zigmond
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I'm very far from expert, but the most obvious thing that stands out to me from those photos is that you're not building any research labs! These are really valuable, both for the knowledge income that lets you climb the tech tracks quicker, and the tech tiles you get from doing it, which also give you a tech advance as well as some other benefit. The tech tracks can give you a lot of advantages, as well as usually being worth 20-30 VP (or more) at the end of the game.

You almost always want a research lab in round 1 - not getting one in the whole game just seems like an incredibly bad idea.

Although even saying this, I feel you must be playing some rules wrong, because those scores are absurdly low even if you're ignoring research labs. Are you not taking your round 1 income (which is a common mistake, you get income in round 1 AS WELL AS the starting resources)? Are you remembering to score the 2 endgame scoring conditions?
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Kester J
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It's hard to answer without having an idea of what you're doing; what does a typical first round look like for you?
 
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Walker Stippel
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robinz wrote:
I'm very far from expert, but the most obvious thing that stands out to me from those photos is that you're not building any research labs! These are really valuable, both for the knowledge income that lets you climb the tech tracks quicker, and the tech tiles you get from doing it, which also give you a tech advance as well as some other benefit. The tech tracks can give you a lot of advantages, as well as usually being worth 20-30 VP (or more) at the end of the game.

You almost always want a research lab in round 1 - not getting one in the whole game just seems like an incredibly bad idea.

Although even saying this, I feel you must be playing some rules wrong, because those scores are absurdly low even if you're ignoring research labs. Are you not taking your round 1 income (which is a common mistake, you get income in round 1 AS WELL AS the starting resources)? Are you remembering to score the 2 endgame scoring conditions?


Yup I'm doing all those. I'm remembering the first round income. I'm remembering to score the 2 tiles at the end (although the dummy player is always ahead of me so i don't get many) Good to know about the research labs. I knew they were important i just don't seem to have enough resources and can't manage to gain them.
 
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Walker Stippel
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Kester wrote:
It's hard to answer without having an idea of what you're doing; what does a typical first round look like for you?


Typically i try to get some mines out and attempt to get the institue out on the first round in an attempt to make the best use of energy. I try to keep the round VP scoring in mind when i do this to try to get VP. But then after the first round all i'm ever doing is attempting to get resources. I know resource management is key and i'm sure that's where i'm failing. But round 2 i don't ever have enough to really do anything and the round after that i'm still trying to play catch up and now the games half over.

Round 4 is rinse and repeat. Now i have resources, build some mines, upgrade a little and then catch up...and the game is over.
 
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Ryan Feathers
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I'm not an expert at Gaia Project either, and it's really hard to tell much just from looking at those photos. Having some from the end of R1/R2 and of the midgame would help tell what you are doing round by round a bit better.


But one very clear thing to me is this: You want to have neighbors in this game. All your structures are apart from your neighbors which means you are paying for expensive trading posts all the time. You almost never want to be paying like that.

Furthermore by not being near others you aren't getting any leech. Especially early on, power helps snowball your economy to get more stuff done. Some of the power actions can be really good to help balance your economy (4pw for 7c, 4pw for 2o) or for expansion (3pw to 1 terraforming). If you're not getting any leech, that's just bad.


Otherwise that other advice is right on too--you want Research Labs. You get knowledge income, tech step, and a technology tile that can really aid your economy. One opening that is good for many factions is an Academy even as two tech bumps and two tech tiles can be really good, plus that extra knowledge income. In particular try that sometime with the Itars as it's easier to obtain (extra starting ore) and even better (3 knowledge income under their academy).
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Mark Jackson
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Look hard at building your institute round 1. Some factions/setups want it, some don't. If it's leaving you severely hamstrung in rounds 2 and 3 it's maybe not the move.
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Jon Kern
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Gaia Project is a hard and heavy Euro game, but here are my key tips.

Always build a RL or Academy on round 1.

Take income tech tiles or the ore + qic tech tile with your RL or Academy on rounds 1 and 2.

Take power actions that help your economic situation best.

Always take Economy level 2 or Navigation level 2 by the end of round 1. There are exceptions to this rule, but don't try that until you are more comfortable with the game.

Never spend more than one ore to dig. Take home planets, gaia planets, and dig actions from the round booster and with power. Use QIC for additional Navigation when needed.

Play on the starter board setup for many games. I advise switching up factions, but getting comfortable with the initial map layout will help you become more comfortable with which factions are suited better or worse for the setup.




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Jon Kern
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Ah_Pook wrote:
Look hard at building your institute round 1. Some factions/setups want it, some don't. If it's leaving you severely hamstrung in rounds 2 and 3 it's maybe not the move.


As a new player, never build your Planetary Institute prior to round 4.
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Jon Kern
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Here is a helpful post that I made on another topic as well.

Here are some helpful links. Let me know if you have any questions on strategy. Please post rules questions in the rules post linked. Hopefully this will get you into loving Gaia Project as much as I do.

I wanted to point out that a lot of new players forget to take income on round 1. Most races start with 7 ore, 15 coins, and 4 knowledge.

FAQs
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2140995/frequently-asked-qu...

Some typical rule errors made by Gaia Project beginners
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1934216/some-typical-rule-e...

Official Federation FAQ
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2120375/official-federation...

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-...


Also a specifically easy and good income oriented opening is the following.

Quote:
Opening Academy + 1-2 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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Ramirez Kyogen
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I noticed that only the Terrans have a federation and Nevla not, while they could have formed at least one, with one satellite.

Aside from the neighbours an Research Labs the others have mentioned, is the Federation FAQ provided by Limitless333 also worthwhile to check.
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Peter Van den Broeck
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I do find a couple of things bizarre about your photo's:

1. the lack of evolution on the tech tracks.
I play this game as a two person player and we usually end up with at least two tracks in stage 4 and higher (one discipline usually at stage 6). I see that the blue color ends up in one discipline in stage 4, white doesn't even get that far...

2. Not a single Research Lab is built, nor a single tech tile is taken.
You really should upgrade your buildings. On the card you have 4 gold and 7 ore, enough to upgrade a trade station to a research lab, trade and ore for a gold and you have enough to buy the RL (5g, 3o). Even in your last turn, you could have done this: it would have given you 7 extra glory points if you'd took the 7 points tech tile.

3. You haven't built a single federation.
In every game I always built at least one federation. It gives you extra income --> VP and/or knowledge, gold, QIB or ore --> take what you need at the moment you build it. White could have built one with a single satelite...

So, I'm not sure what's missing. Do you collect enough knowledge? Do you not take all the possible actions that are there in a turn?

I hope the answers in this thread give you enough inspiration to find it out. Otherwise, you should document your turns more in detail...

Good luck!

P
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Jason Lewis
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I'm up to about 25-30 plays of Gaia Project now. My high score with other real players is 187. It was with the red race that lets you just keep building on to get federations (forget the name right now). I'm sure that some people have gotten scores of 200. I do believe that. But I think if people are telling you their AVERAGE is 180-200 that something is wrong. In many boardgames you can do very well and "lap" the victory point track. But I find it highly unlikely that it would be the norm to lap the victory track twice. I feel that if it were that easy to lap it twice that this game would have shown this in play testing and have included either 1. a 100pt chip to hold as you lap the track the first time, or 2. simply expanded the points of the game to 200.

There could be other reasons for strangely high scores. As some have stated in other threads, this could be to missing minor rules. But also, it depends on the strength of your opponents. Building adjacent to others is very important in this game, as it gives you major cost savings in gold and it feeds you power. But...are your opponents building and upgrading next to you without thought to what it can do for you? Do they want to take 2 ore for 4 power, but mistakenly let you gain power by their build action instead, thus allowing you to take that power action before them? If your opponents are playing intelligently, often times there are ways to stall or buy time, even to the point of not upgrading adjacent to an opponent until they've passed for the turn. Sure you still can collect that power but then you cant take the action. Idk, I'm just skeptical that SOOOOOO many people are claiming to CONSISTENTLY and with almost all the races, score the 200 point range.

I'm ignoring automa scores for this post. I find automa incredibly easy to beat. But there can be a large variability in their placement of new structures and their upgrades so I dont know that scores against automa should really be looked at alongside scores with real people. They are separate entities.
 
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Ryan Feathers
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The best players at this game totally can average about 180 points. We'll know a lot more as the data continues to pile up for PBF games and if/when we eventually get a digital offering for Gaia Project we'll be able to say a lot more too.

I think the score track argument is pretty weak. They included a score track, and it is trivial to remember if someone has gone around once already or not (I have always been baffled by games that include 100 vp chips to help remind players like in Terra Mystica. I never use them and can't imagine many do)

Plus, the main thing is a bunch of very smart and very talented players are telling you they do so. It's probably best to just trust them rather than assume a bunch of players are systematically making errors or playing poorly.
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Jon Kern
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mbuna120 wrote:
I'm up to about 25-30 plays of Gaia Project now. My high score with other real players is 187. It was with the red race that lets you just keep building on to get federations (forget the name right now). I'm sure that some people have gotten scores of 200. I do believe that. But I think if people are telling you their AVERAGE is 180-200 that something is wrong. In many boardgames you can do very well and "lap" the victory point track. But I find it highly unlikely that it would be the norm to lap the victory track twice. I feel that if it were that easy to lap it twice that this game would have shown this in play testing and have included either 1. a 100pt chip to hold as you lap the track the first time, or 2. simply expanded the points of the game to 200.

There could be other reasons for strangely high scores. As some have stated in other threads, this could be to missing minor rules. But also, it depends on the strength of your opponents. Building adjacent to others is very important in this game, as it gives you major cost savings in gold and it feeds you power. But...are your opponents building and upgrading next to you without thought to what it can do for you? Do they want to take 2 ore for 4 power, but mistakenly let you gain power by their build action instead, thus allowing you to take that power action before them? If your opponents are playing intelligently, often times there are ways to stall or buy time, even to the point of not upgrading adjacent to an opponent until they've passed for the turn. Sure you still can collect that power but then you cant take the action. Idk, I'm just skeptical that SOOOOOO many people are claiming to CONSISTENTLY and with almost all the races, score the 200 point range.

I'm ignoring automa scores for this post. I find automa incredibly easy to beat. But there can be a large variability in their placement of new structures and their upgrades so I dont know that scores against automa should really be looked at alongside scores with real people. They are separate entities.


The 180 point range is a lot more common. 200+ is typically misplay by opponents.
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Jason Lewis
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Limitless333 wrote:
mbuna120 wrote:
I'm up to about 25-30 plays of Gaia Project now. My high score with other real players is 187. It was with the red race that lets you just keep building on to get federations (forget the name right now). I'm sure that some people have gotten scores of 200. I do believe that. But I think if people are telling you their AVERAGE is 180-200 that something is wrong. In many boardgames you can do very well and "lap" the victory point track. But I find it highly unlikely that it would be the norm to lap the victory track twice. I feel that if it were that easy to lap it twice that this game would have shown this in play testing and have included either 1. a 100pt chip to hold as you lap the track the first time, or 2. simply expanded the points of the game to 200.

There could be other reasons for strangely high scores. As some have stated in other threads, this could be to missing minor rules. But also, it depends on the strength of your opponents. Building adjacent to others is very important in this game, as it gives you major cost savings in gold and it feeds you power. But...are your opponents building and upgrading next to you without thought to what it can do for you? Do they want to take 2 ore for 4 power, but mistakenly let you gain power by their build action instead, thus allowing you to take that power action before them? If your opponents are playing intelligently, often times there are ways to stall or buy time, even to the point of not upgrading adjacent to an opponent until they've passed for the turn. Sure you still can collect that power but then you cant take the action. Idk, I'm just skeptical that SOOOOOO many people are claiming to CONSISTENTLY and with almost all the races, score the 200 point range.

I'm ignoring automa scores for this post. I find automa incredibly easy to beat. But there can be a large variability in their placement of new structures and their upgrades so I dont know that scores against automa should really be looked at alongside scores with real people. They are separate entities.


The 180 point range is a lot more common. 200+ is typically misplay by opponents.


That sounds reasonable.
 
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Jon Kern
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To be more accurate 160+ is always possible. Good players will play factions that work well with the setup which gets them into the 180 range.
 
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Joe Smith
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Is that regardless of player count? I started playing Gaia a few weeks ago feverishly with our group (4 plays a week and 2 solo a week for me personally) and at 2 players our scores are usually only 140ish to 110-120ish while when it's 3-4 I will usually hit close to 170 while the rest are under 110.
 
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Jon Kern
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Zatara_ wrote:
Is that regardless of player count? I started playing Gaia a few weeks ago feverishly with our group (4 plays a week and 2 solo a week for me personally) and at 2 players our scores are usually only 140ish to 110-120ish while when it's 3-4 I will usually hit close to 170 while the rest are under 110.


In 2 player I actually score higher due to less competition so in the 170-190 range with rare games where I break 200.
 
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Bokken B
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I really do have a project where I make some strategy videos for Gaia. But at the moment I'm still trying to find time to finish my FAQ. it will come eventually.

Until then, here are the BIGGEST things I can say. There are exceptions to EVERYTHING, but these are guidelines until you understand the game better.

1: Make sure you take income before round 1. if you're starting Round 1 with less than 7 ore (excluding Firaks and Ivits) you're doing it wrong.

2. 'NEVER' pay more than 1 ore for a single terraforming step. In round 1, you should be ONLY using the power action or round booster to terraform.

3. Your initial placement should always aim to have both of your mines within 2 of opponents. You can get away with 1 as long as you can build one more mine within a neighboring range in round 1. Not having any in range is 'always' bad. This should be a consideration when picking a race, if there's not alot of good options to be near your opponent, that race might not be worth it.

4. 'Never' pay 6c for a Trading station.

5. 'Never' build a Planetary institute in R1. The only exception to this for beginners should be Terrans, and even then they do well to build it in R2-R3 too. Your first turn should almost always be RL+TS+M(+M) or AC+M(+M) on every race.

6. first 3 rounds, focus on expanding and building up your economy (your income) last 3 rounds, focus on points. If you get some easy points due to round bonuses that match up with your economy build in the first 3 rounds.. great. But it's not worth stunting your economy for points in the first 3 rounds. Focus on what would be the best way to expand your map/tech trees. Last three rounds focus on the points

7. Have a plan. Try to plan out your entire turn 1 to manage what you want. Want a RL+TS+M+M? plan on having 9 ore and 15 credits, as well as the way to reach and build on 2 additional planets. Want to "eventually" get to the top of a track? figure out what round you're going to do that in, and what path you need to take to accomplish that.

8. Try to get 4k income each round. The easiest way to do this is to build an Academy with either 1 bump on the sci track, or grabbing the 1K 1c income tech tile. You can even wait to do this on turn 2 so that your 4k income starts on turn 3, but try to get it, your games will improve.

9. You should aim for 3 federations by the end of the game. It's ok if you get close to 3 feds. it's not ok if you're struggling to hit 2. 2 is a bare bones minimum, and should be easy to achieve.



these are just a few things off the cuff that will improve your game. i could go over each and why and how it helps. but I dont have time to write it all out, and Jon has linked to many resources where he has already done just that. And all of these 'rules' have exceptions, but try to follow it until you get a hang of the game.

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