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Subject: Value of round 1 tech tiles rss

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Jason Lewis
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So, obviously, which tech tiles you take and where they are located when you take them can drastically change their value, but I'm looking to kind of decide which ones are a more consistently good play in the first round of the game so that I can give general advice when teaching this game to newbies.

My absolute favorite first tech tile to take (and I almost never start a game with less than one tech tile in round one) is the +4gold tech tile. Its my favorite because I typically do not have a Trading station on the board at the end of round one. I am much more likely to have an academy or two research labs possibly, or maybe even the PI but then I dont have to choose a tech tile anyway. At any rate, I have been thinking about cost vs value and would like some other opinions.

I'm looking specifically at the tech tiles that add income, as I want to determine their maximum value over the next five rounds of the game.

1. +4 gold
2. +1 knowledge, +1 gold
3. +1 ore, +1 power (charge)

So, over the course of 5 rounds, we have the following gains:

1. +20 gold
2. +5 knowledge, +5 gold
3. +5 ore, +5 power (charge)

This seems to me to be equatable to the following value in power from taking power actions:

1. approx 12 power (2.5 power actions @ 4 power each)
2. approx 13 power (3.5 power actions @ 4 power each)
3. approx 5 power? (2.5 power actions @ 4 power each, minus the 5
charged power gained?)

So....lets pretend one of these tech tiles is available underneath the income track, (a very popular tech path choice) and that the other two are on the bottom row of techs meaning that you can go up in any tech tree. This way its a fair comparison assuming the same startup every time.

With all of that being said, how do you guys value those three tiles in particular?
 
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David Jones
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mbuna120 wrote:

So, over the course of 5 rounds, we have the following gains:
1. +20 gold
1. approx 12 power (2.5 power actions @ 4 power each)


Well, not to make things more complicated, but this is really 24 power, not 12 power. Remember that it takes two power income to actually move a disc from bowl 1 to bowl 3. The reason I bring this up is that I find it odd you've not included the 4 power technology in this analysis. Since you can use that technology during the round it is acquired, it means 4x6 = 24 power income over the course of the game. Assuming your math is correct, this puts it on par with the gold income tile. The upside is that power is more versatile that gold. The downsize is that it assumes you can actually get the power action you want each round. The four power tile is starting to become the favorite in our group, even if its not on the bottom row.

That said, I really think its a difficult decision. Ore tends to be scare resource in this game, so I would lean towards the Ore/Power option. However, in the early game, I often like to spam mines as early as possible and then build up. This can be difficult without trading posts, so a 4 gold tile early in the game allows the players to focus on mines/PI/labs without having to worry about leaving trading posts on the board. So.. I think the decision between these two would depend on whether the player plans on building tall or wide. Tall players will probably need the ore more. Personally, I'm not big on the one knowledge income. Based on some other threads I've seen on the forum, it seems like 4 knowledge income/turn by round one is a big goal for a lot of people, but personally I seem to do well with only two or three.
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V Vendetta
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I didn't understand why you subtracted the power you gained in your math here. By your logic the last tile would be worth 15pw instead of 5, right (subtracting here makes no sense)? I think I'd need to check your math in more detail, actually...

Besides... By this logic the 4pw tile would be the strongest too, since it would be a total of 24pw - and, it is a solid pickup if you have enough power tokens in your blows.

I mean, not that this way of doing the math is the best way to evaluate stuff while being a guide (since you'd have to consider you won't always get the ideal power "action" and might have to use the free action instead, which will blow all the math above away). It would be better to think in more circumstantial manner.

For instance, an opener with 4 mines and a lab would find 4 coins appealing since it is your bottleneck. But an opener with 2 mines, a trade station and a lab would probably like the 4pw tile or the w+pw tile more depending on passing tiles.

If you want to be safe, I'd say go for 4pw, but not because of your math. Because it is flexible. (ONE problem the 4pw tile suffers is adding an action, tho... this can make passing to deny "BONs"* harder).

I've seen people in threads here claiming to pick 1w+1QIC in r1, so... I really think it'll be too complicated to explain the details of what a person should think while taking the tiles, so I'd keep with the "flexible" thought saying "this will give you more control of your power tokens".

* I'm using the Terra Mystica name of it here, since I don't remember the name of the passing bonus in this game and I think it might be "Booster", in which case we MUST abbreviate it as "BOOs" for the sake of tradition and because that would be kinda funny.
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Marco Shek
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davypi wrote:
mbuna120 wrote:

So, over the course of 5 rounds, we have the following gains:
1. +20 gold
1. approx 12 power (2.5 power actions @ 4 power each)


Well, not to make things more complicated, but this is really 24 power, not 12 power. Remember that it takes two power income to actually move a disc from bowl 1 to bowl 3. The reason I bring this up is that I find it odd you've not included the 4 power technology in this analysis. Since you can use that technology during the round it is acquired, it means 4x6 = 24 power income over the course of the game. Assuming your math is correct, this puts it on par with the gold income tile. The upside is that power is more versatile that gold. The downsize is that it assumes you can actually get the power action you want each round. The four power tile is starting to become the favorite in our group, even if its not on the bottom row.

That said, I really think its a difficult decision. Ore tends to be scare resource in this game, so I would lean towards the Ore/Power option. However, in the early game, I often like to spam mines as early as possible and then build up. This can be difficult without trading posts, so a 4 gold tile early in the game allows the players to focus on mines/PI/labs without having to worry about leaving trading posts on the board. So.. I think the decision between these two would depend on whether the player plans on building tall or wide. Tall players will probably need the ore more. Personally, I'm not big on the one knowledge income. Based on some other threads I've seen on the forum, it seems like 4 knowledge income/turn by round one is a big goal for a lot of people, but personally I seem to do well with only two or three.

The following analysis takes on the correction that in order to take a power action costing 4 power, one actually has to charge 8 power. To convert everything into the common currency, power, I also include the +4 power charge tile.

1. +4pw tile = +24pw over 6 rounds.
The benefit is clear: 24 power charges. Unless, of course, you are the Taklons.

2. +4c tile = +20c over 5 rounds
The benefit is equivalent to between 23pw (power action) to 40pw (standard coversion).

3. +k +c tile = +5k +5c over 5 rounds
The benefit is equivalent to between 26pw (power actions) to 50pw (standard conversion)

4. +o +pw tile = +5o +5pw over 5 rounds
The benefit is equivalent to between 25pw (power actions) to 35pw (standard conversion).

Solely based on my calculations above, the +4pw tile is the worst and the +k +c tile is the best. However, in terms of flexibility and scarcity, experienced players would quickly argue that power is most versatile, ore is more likely to be the bottleneck than coins, whilst knowledge is only good in packs of 4.

Which one I end up taking usually depends on my plans for round 2 and 3.
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Jon Kern
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The Charge 4 tech tile is less efficient than these the income tech tiles in theory, but in practice the 4pwr in round 1 helps the player achieve a stronger opening round and the 4pwr is more flexible in the resources that it can provide. This makes this tech tile the best for resource generation.

Additionally, power can be converted into QIC which is a rare and valuable resource. Boosting the power of the charge 4 tech further.

All that said, the tech tile you take is most often based on the tech track the tile is located on and the position of advance tech tiles in the game. The one you should take should be primarily based on which tech steps you need to maximize your score.

Furthermore, the rate of return of the tech tile is very important to consider. 2 Ore in round 1 is worth more than 2 Ore on round 6. This means that even the Ore+QIC tech can provide more overall net return if it allows you to have a stronger round 1. The same can be said for Terraforming level 1 which I often take round 1 to have a better start.

Another factor to consider is the synergy of resources. Knowledge, Power, and QIC are self synergistic. This means that with these resources you want to generate a whole lot of them or not very many. I consider 4k income mandatory on rounds 4-6, but some strategies want to get up to 8k per round on rounds 4-6.

Credits and Ore, however, are synergistic with one another at a rate of 1.73 Credits needed for every 1 Ore on average. This means that the 1k+1c tech would do better on average with a Research opening and the Ore+Pwr or 4c tech would do better with an Economy opening.
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V Vendetta
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Also, about the 4 knowledge... There are many ways of acquiring that, with one being 1k+1g + 1k base (not all factions, but still...) + knowledge track bump + lab income (not all factions, but still...).

But you can also bump the knowledge track twice + 1k (base) + lab. Or you can start with 2 labs + 1k base + 1k1g...
 
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Kester J
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lscrock wrote:

Which one I end up taking usually depends on my plans for round 2 and 3.


This.

The decision point is more determined by how the tech tiles work with what you're doing, rather than saying which is "best" in a vacuum.
-The +4c tile is very nice with a nav opening, when you'll be OK for ore due to the mines you're putting out, but your coins will be pressured
-The +ore tile is the best all-rounder, and is the usual target if I'm ending R1 with fewer than 4 mines on the board (i.e. usually an academy opening, or setting up for a R2 PI)
-The +4pw tile shines when it lets you take a key move on R1 that you couldn't otherwise make (usually upgrading to an academy)
-I'm kind of cool on the +k,+c tile: I think it's probably the weakest of the four we're dicussing, but the best use is when you're going up the economy track and so your ore and coin needs are being dealt with there.
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V Vendetta
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Limitless333 wrote:
The Charge 4 tech tile is less efficient than these the income tech tiles in theory, but in practice the 4pwr in round 1 helps the player achieve a stronger opening round and the 4pwr is more flexible in the resources that it can provide.


And this should be the TLDR explanation when teaching the game the first time.

Now how deep should you go when teaching? Should you mention openers? Should you mention "quantized knowledge" (only very good in packs of 4)?
Do you want to encourage more experimentation, or more success?

I'd be of the "keep simple stupid" crowd since the game is complicated enough, and you kinda have the interest to make people want play it again - or at least I would.
 
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Jason Lewis
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Well, this is the discussion I was looking for! I do consider the 4 power tile to be very strong. The reason I didnt try to compare it to the others is that I feel that its somehow more dependent on the number of players present in the game than the basic income tiles are. Meaning if you somehow end up stuck not charging much power from other players you may find that you're not moving that power around very efficiently. For people that havent played terra mystica, the power movement and opportunity costs are a more difficult skill in my eyes.

And bear in mind I'm only looking to discuss it to get a better feel of whats strong and why while minimizing variables as much as possible. I wouldnt tell new players that "this is the right move", but I firmly believe that when I introduce players to a new game their best course of action is usually to gain resources that can be put to a variety of uses, so that they get a chance to at least sample the different aspects of the game during the first playthrough. This allows the first game of anything to be a more thorough teaching.
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V Vendetta
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So I'd say you should tell the players you are teaching something about openers, and to not pick the Mad Droids for their first game (since their game is a bit too unusual compared to other factions).

Of course I picked them for my first game since I like failing big and learning with plenty of mistakes! (But I can tell you it isn't a very good tool to teach the game.)
 
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David Jones
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lscrock wrote:
Solely based on my calculations above, the +4pw tile is the worst and the +k +c tile is the best. However, in terms of flexibility and scarcity, experienced players would quickly argue that power is most versatile, ore is more likely to be the bottleneck than coins, whilst knowledge is only good in packs of 4.


But it is interesting to see that if we evaluate everything it terms of power actions that they are essentially balanced. The other reason this becomes important is that income tiles cannot terraform. If you count the single terraform action as three ore, the four power tile gets you 2/3rd the way there, so its effectively two ore, which puts it above the one ore/one power income tile. Again, you're gambling on not getting cut out of the action you need, but if you can get it... The other issue is that in the last game I played I actually ended up twice converting power into QIC, which I couldn't have done without the 4p income tile. This is something that no other income tile can do for you. This again demonstrates why its difficult to compare these straight across.
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K O
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mbuna120 wrote:
Well, this is the discussion I was looking for! I do consider the 4 power tile to be very strong. The reason I didnt try to compare it to the others is that I feel that its somehow more dependent on the number of players present in the game than the basic income tiles are. Meaning if you somehow end up stuck not charging much power from other players you may find that you're not moving that power around very efficiently. For people that havent played terra mystica, the power movement and opportunity costs are a more difficult skill in my eyes.

And bear in mind I'm only looking to discuss it to get a better feel of whats strong and why while minimizing variables as much as possible. I wouldnt tell new players that "this is the right move", but I firmly believe that when I introduce players to a new game their best course of action is usually to gain resources that can be put to a variety of uses, so that they get a chance to at least sample the different aspects of the game during the first playthrough. This allows the first game of anything to be a more thorough teaching.


I am not sure what you want to hear. From the viewpoint of an experienced player the income tiles are essentially balanced and which one is 'better' for you is very situational, so 'minimizing variables' misses the point of discussion.

For a new player on the other hand, the +4pwr tile is in my opinion the most complicated option, even more so if they don't know the power cycle from Terra Mystica. You get another layer of complexity in an already overwhelming complex game. In worst case they are either stuck with useless power tokens in bowl II, or no good power action left, or even have to decide to not use the tile or miss a booster, which can be very frustrating.
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Erik Bagger
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Just want to point out that the charge 4 pwr can be significantly harder to get good value out of if your race isn't suited for it or you lack complimentary power rotation.

Nonetheless, it's amazing on Nevlas and Taklons.
Very good point of it being useful on R1 as well.
 
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Jason Lewis
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I am not sure what you want to hear.

well....I just said this is the discussion I was looking for, so obviously I'm hearing what I want to hear. And since I started the discussion, telling me that something I've said is missing the point of the discussion is pretty obnoxious. In the future perhaps you could cut back on being rude and just include the parts of your thoughts that are constructive.
 
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