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Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star» Forums » General

Subject: Speed Is King. rss

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My group and I have played Xia quite a bit since we got it. I got it in january, and we meet bi-weekly for games, It has become our most played game in that time. So, we've gone through iterations of strategy very fast. And the 'opening' turns are all identical. You pick whatever ship suits you're plan/play style. You buy a T3 engine, and you just hurl yourself as fast as you can in any given direction, grabbing every exploration token along the way. Every time you pass a mission point you grab missions, and look for the closest one, lawful or not. Any time you have a cube, you just keep it in your cargo hold. If you die, you just throw yourself at the nearest unexplored direction.

Since it doesn't matter what exploration tokens you get, they're all worth 1k credits, the cubes are worth more (2k in effect) and the missions are worth 3k. Its just the fastest way to grab a T2 ship. and since the t2 pool is limited, its first come first serve, and if the ship for your plan is gone, you need to make changes.
The fact that you only lose missions and damage on dying means once Xia has been found (the only 'certain death' jump) there is no direct penalty to blind jumping, and with a just a t3 engine, damage doesn't matter. So it just becomes this mad scramble.
When the 2nd gate is found, all that happens is the person who finds it uses it to jump to the other gate, then back through for the 2fp then continues this mad dash.

Even with only being able to turn the exploration tokens in on a planet, all you do is keep hold of them till you have 2 or 4 of them, and enough credits, or a mission for a planet. you go to the planet, Turn everything in all at once and then upgrade your ship. Normally with 2k credits left over (4 tokens +3k mission, or some cubes). Which since most people start with a t3 engine is used to purchase a shield and whatever they are using to specialize.


Does anyone have any suggestions or solutions to this 'rush tokens' strategy? I've tried buying a engine and blaster/missile, but it doesn't matter, since you can't really do enough damage to kill someone, and they just pile tokens on to their engines and zip out of your firing range and even chasing range within a turn. Ramming is just as bad, because in effect they have 3 engine rolls to get out of range, and you have 2 to get in range (if you want to keep one for ramming).
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Tyinsar -
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Eddieddi wrote:
... When the 2nd gate is found, all that happens is the person who finds it uses it to jump to the other gate, then back through for the 2fp ...

I don’t have my game in front of me but I’m pretty sure that only the first use of the gates gets you a fame point.

Edit: I also thought that you turn in the exploration tokens as soon as you have two - no matter where you are - and you can’t save them up. I could be wrong - night two of insomnia zombie - but that’s my recollection. Anyway, I’m off to try sleeping again so will look at the rest tomorrow.
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Tyinsar wrote:
Eddieddi wrote:
... When the 2nd gate is found, all that happens is the person who finds it uses it to jump to the other gate, then back through for the 2fp ...

I don’t have my game in front of me but I’m pretty sure that only the first use of the gates gets you a fame point.

Edit: I also thought that you turn in the exploration tokens as soon as you have two - no matter where you are - and you can’t save them up. I could be wrong - night two of insomnia zombie - but that’s my recollection. Anyway, I’m off to try sleeping again so will look at the rest tomorrow.


Correct on both of these points.

This has never really been an issue in our games, so I can't really think of a way to counter it. Exploring generally I'd the thing to do in the early game and you net a couple game points from it, as does everyone else before moving onto other things.

 
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Ender02 wrote:
Tyinsar wrote:

I don’t have my game in front of me but I’m pretty sure that only the first use of the gates gets you a fame point.

Edit: I also thought that you turn in the exploration tokens as soon as you have two - no matter where you are - and you can’t save them up. I could be wrong - night two of insomnia zombie - but that’s my recollection. Anyway, I’m off to try sleeping again so will look at the rest tomorrow.


Correct on both of these points.

This has never really been an issue in our games, so I can't really think of a way to counter it. Exploring generally I'd the thing to do in the early game and you net a couple game points from it, as does everyone else before moving onto other things.



I just took a moment to re-read the rules, and I can see we got that wrong. The fame point regarding the gates, since its only on the tiles we misread it as 'the first player to use this gate gets a famepoint' not, 'the gates'
The issue is it doesn't really change the problem beyond knocking a few FP off the map. While I understand its 'the generally done thing' It feels a bit like it is a 'must have' to buy a T3 engine and fly with this sort of reckless abandon towards the horizon. It kind of 'defines' the first few turns. The only times it ever changes is when a easier source of credits comes up (two tradable planets right next to one another is the most common example).
 
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Jacob Williams
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Typically with a T3 engine is all players can afford. Has anyone tried wrecking them with weapons? The new ability for Persistent Memory could do well in this role.
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ChromiumAgeCollector wrote:
Typically with a T3 engine is all players can afford. Has anyone tried wrecking them with weapons? The new ability for Persistent Memory could do well in this role.


It's been tried, The problem is that with the t3 engines you just run away, and combined with the uncaring nature of 'oh I took 9 damage? no biggie I got my token and will just die next turn' its pretty hard to keep up if you're trying to fly a safer route to preserve your weapons.

The Persistent memory's new ability does somewhat help, with the issue that you need to either buy a t3 blaster to keep up (Can't remember if it even fits!), or have to rely on them respawning somewhere within range.
Even then, each time you kill someone, you get a 1k credit bounty and 1fp. Unless you've got some method of making credits, the guys you don't kill will just run out of range and go through the process.

I'm not saying this is a bad tactic, its just...a little dull?
 
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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Missions from exploration tokens aren’t worth 3k, they’re worth 1k. Also, at some point, missions become more attractive than exploration tokens because they’re renewable. Yes, you draw useless ones, but you draw 3 and keep 1 (unless you use M-Comp, in which case you can choose to abandon any that can’t be completed and draw more).

Personally, I think that the game switches to a point where it’s easier to get money and FP on missions (or cubes) than it is to keep risking your ship on exploration tokens. Two good missions can net you 5-6k and 2 FP, but 6 exploration tokens eventually gets you 6k or 3 FP (or a combination thereof).
 
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Dave41fan wrote:
Missions from exploration tokens aren’t worth 3k, they’re worth 1k. Also, at some point, missions become more attractive than exploration tokens because they’re renewable. Yes, you draw useless ones, but you draw 3 and keep 1 (unless you use M-Comp, in which case you can choose to abandon any that can’t be completed and draw more).

Personally, I think that the game switches to a point where it’s easier to get money and FP on missions (or cubes) than it is to keep risking your ship on exploration tokens. Two good missions can net you 5-6k and 2 FP, but 6 exploration tokens eventually gets you 6k or 3 FP (or a combination thereof).


2 tokens = 2k, therefore 1 token =1k. The mission from the token 1k. Experience from the mission 1k (Using Ira's homebrew of you can expend experience to increase mission payout by 1k.)

The thing about the game 'switching' is its true, but in the early game, When almost no tiles have been put out missions arn't worth it as you have no idea when the start or end point could turn up. and pretty much every other location will have a token. What I'm talking about is at the very start, when you have 3k creds to buy ship parts, You buy a t3 engine and just hurl yourself in to the unknown. because dying is such a low penalty in the early game, Its what? 1 damage and a random location? sure, You just head to the nearest edge and go again. More often than not you find a token and get 1k credits (if not more). And by the time missions become worthwhile, You have enough for a t2 ship.

 
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Eddieddi wrote:
Even with only being able to turn the exploration tokens in on a planet, all you do is keep hold of them till you have 2 or 4 of them, and enough credits, or a mission for a planet. you go to the planet, Turn everything in all at once and then upgrade your ship. Normally with 2k credits left over (4 tokens +3k mission, or some cubes).

Others have pointed out other rules mistakes in your post (1 VP for gates only for 1st use of any gate, 2 tokens max in possession at any time), so I wanted to highlight this and make sure there's not another. You know you can only sell cubes to planets willing to buy them, right? There's a very low chance you'll have both a mission to cash in and cubes to sell on the same planet at the same time.

Even so, I don't see a problem with exploration being the opening move. Many missions are useless until the corresponding tiles are out, and early game mining is only good if there's a small distance between mining area and planet that will buy the goods. Speed is king generally anyway, so it makes sense to get engines early to explore before doing anything else. To me the game doesn't really get going until most of the tiles are out anyway, so I like that exploration rewards encourage that happening sooner rather than later.

But for your group if you all agree it's boring then just house-rule that exploration tokens can't be traded in. That should slow down the early game exploration rush somewhat.
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I find these types of threads fascinating because it seems like each group starts leaning towards some great strategy that works for that group. But it is practically impossible for me to give you any advice to counter this "speed" strategy because the fastest way to the next fame point is completely dependent on the game state at any given time. What tiles are out, what missions do I have, who has weapons, what's my load out, which ship powers did I choose etc etc. So for me to try and give you advice on a highly complex set of game variables that can't be seen is silly.

The only advice I can give you is, there are many many ways to victory, don't let one particular strategy drown out your view of other options.
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As others have said, the rush to explore is a good thing since it opens up the map and reveals new opportunities. This is natural and it’s what our ancestors did when they discovered previously unknown lands (and I’m including groups that explored and settled the world before the european nations did). It also applies to fields of science and engineering: those who took crazy risks with electricity, x-rays, flying machines, submarines, rockets, ... often died or made great discoveries (or both).

The only way I see around this is to start with an already explored map like Hyper / Triple Hammerhead System and then simply discarding exploration tokens once you get the initial reward (no rewards for sets). Even then MentatYP is correct that “speed is king generally anyway” since it lets you complete missions and trade faster. It also helps you catch or run away from other players.

Lately we have been starting with more money (5000 or 6000) to get a faster start. Next game I want to try giving each player three 1Fp title cards at the start (sort of like secret missions for them to complete). This was discussed in this thread: Quick Start - Boosting the start of the game (beginners friendly) [Help!]
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Eddieddi wrote:
[q="Dave41fan"]

2 tokens = 2k, therefore 1 token =1k. The mission from the token 1k. Experience from the mission 1k (Using Ira's homebrew of you can expend experience to increase mission payout by 1k.)




just want to make sure i understand what you're saying here regarding mission experience. If playing with the expansion there are so many mission types and some mission types do not benefit from reroll - so IF YOU HAVE A MISSION COMPLETED THAT IS THE SAME TYPE AS THE MISSION YOU ARE NOW COMPLETING - you can turn it in for a reroll OR +1k credit reward. if playing in the base game you wouldn't use this because there aren't many mission types to hit this problem.

so saying that each token mission (captain in need) is just worth an additional 1k credits b/c of future experience is disingenuous mental gymnastics. The odds that you'd get a captain in need, complete it to get the CHANCE TO USE EXPERIENCE LATER, find another mission of the same type QUICKLY and complete it for the +1k bonus is quite low.

but maybe i'm not understanding your statement.
 
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pears wrote:

just want to make sure i understand what you're saying here regarding mission experience. If playing with the expansion there are so many mission types and some mission types do not benefit from reroll - so IF YOU HAVE A MISSION COMPLETED THAT IS THE SAME TYPE AS THE MISSION YOU ARE NOW COMPLETING - you can turn it in for a reroll OR +1k credit reward. if playing in the base game you wouldn't use this because there aren't many mission types to hit this problem.

so saying that each token mission (captain in need) is just worth an additional 1k credits b/c of future experience is disingenuous mental gymnastics. The odds that you'd get a captain in need, complete it to get the CHANCE TO USE EXPERIENCE LATER, find another mission of the same type QUICKLY and complete it for the +1k bonus is quite low.

but maybe i'm not understanding your statement.


You are getting my statement. But the fact you can just eject missions in to space and every time you pass a mission point you draw 3 missions. And with the overly aggressive start of just rushing onwards to find the map, you pass enough to go through at least 9 missions a turn, If not more. Its not disingenuous, Its something we've seen that's very common. You get a 'captain in need' mission, the delivery location is close enough to a planet. go back and forth across a mission space to grab a dozen or more cards, Find a mission that is either same type with a start/finish spot close enough to your captain in need, preferably on a planet. same type,good or outlaw it doesn't matter. And just rush that down, drop the captain off, finish the mission. get your extra credits. It might be a case of its 3 autistics and 2 neurotypical people that we tend to bore down to the 'best' strategy pretty fast, Looking past the games theme and feel and going at the raw mechanics.



So, We just played a 'test' game, only 1 player purchased the t3 engine at the start of the game, that was the first player to hit t2, ect ect.
I'm not against the 'race for exploration' as it were, It just feels like it denies the early game choice of 'what do I buy? how do I want to start out?' and just becomes a 'how fast can I get to the next sector edge and what is the chance of me blind-jumping in to Xia?' There are lots of paths to victory, and its awesome. This is still far and away our favorite game, We're just feeling a little hemmed in at the game start. We'll try with 4kcred. I've also proposed a home-rule that is basically if you have a t3 outfit in a t1 ship you need to expend 2 activation tokens to activate it, the idea being you've strapped this super-energy hungry uber-engine in to this dinky little 'space van' (what we call the swamp rat).
 
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Eddieddi wrote:
... go back and forth across a mission space to grab a dozen or more cards, ...

We play that you can only pick up missions once per turn per mission point. This way if you pass over three points you get to look at nine missions but you can't simply run over the same point multiple times - well you can but you've already got all the missions they have to give that turn.
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Tyinsar wrote:
Eddieddi wrote:
... go back and forth across a mission space to grab a dozen or more cards, ...

We play that you can only pick up missions once per turn per mission point. This way if you pass over three points you get to look at nine missions but you can't simply run over the same point multiple times - well you can but you've already got all the missions they have to give that turn.

Yeah, we've talked about starting doing that. We're slowly collating a list of home rules that we want to use. that's one of them.
 
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Eddieddi wrote:
... We're slowly collating a list of home rules that we want to use. that's one of them.

I'd be curious to see the list once you've tried them - of course we'll all tell you how wrong you are and you should just play the rules as written. laugh

Actually the first time we played a player (that's always looking for exploits) asked if he could get even more missions this way and I immediately said no - thematically it felt wrong - so that's been our rule from the start.
 
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Tyinsar wrote:

I'd be curious to see the list once you've tried them - of course we'll all tell you how wrong you are and you should just play the rules as written. laugh

Actually the first time we played a player (that's always looking for exploits) asked if he could get even more missions this way and I immediately said no - thematically it felt wrong - so that's been our rule from the start.


So, Our current home-rule set:
The Enforcer cannot target the scoundrel. We've had games where the enforcer just sits around loath and camps the scoundrel. Kind of boring.
You can only pick up one set of missions per node per turn.
NPC's are 'aware' of comet flight paths, just like players and try and go 'behind' comets.
You cannot enter combat on lawful planets unless one player has a bounty. Was more of a thematic rule than a mechanical one.
Players may trade/make deals, but only when adjacent in space, or on the same planet together. it started out as more thematic, but in the first game resulted in hilarious 'space radio' moments. We like to roleplay our captains, a lot.
We don't play with the Nat 20 gives you a FP. But on the rare times we do, We include Nat 1's lose you fame points. If being lucky gets you points, being unlucky should cost you something.
The player who Locates/'spawns' the NPC gets their card and has to deal with them (It is easier than dealing them out, and they still often end up spread out.).
The sellsword is spawned in like other NPC's, but if someone buys his ship, He 'retires' and you get his ship. This makes for a somewhat interesting game as you can buy someone's buddy out from under their nose.

Most of them are either QOL stuff, or just stuff that makes for fantastic ingame interactions. I mean, We had this interaction at the table:
P1 (With hands over mouth): *Makes radio Ksskt noise* This is The Most wanted captain of the Mach horror contacting the captain of the cold phoenix. Requesting meeting for trade. Over. *Makes Radio Ksskt noise*
P2 (While taking his turn): *Makes the ksskt noise* This is the velocity warden captain of the cold Phoenix Please use the correct titles, Most wanted captain of the Mach horror. *pasues to make some rolls* We are currently suffering some navigational and ice difficultes, we will meet you on Neo damascus if able. *moves the ship through some debris and rolls, comes up a 2* Ah, that's a mag mine, still armed. Fraid you'll have to make the trade without us Captain. See you on the other side *Proceeds to make mock explosion noises*

The table kind of broke down laughing at that.
 
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laugh Sounds like you have a great group to play with.
 
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I think this is the third time this thread where someone has highlighted an incorrect rule usage. In the expansion getting missions is limited to (quote) You may take this (Minor) Action once per Mission Point per turn. This isn't a house rule it is THE rule.

so this, in my opinion, negates your experience that Captain in need supplies experience that is easily "cashed in". I've started games with mcomps and turned in many missions, having lots of completed missions (experience) sitting there b/c i haven't found a duplicate type (locations aren't there, or some other issue, or simply not seeing the card type) - It's all statistics and i'm sure the actual numbers paint a different picture than your groups experience (again using the correct rule).

it's also interesting that you call early missions out for being difficult to pinpoint but defend captain in need as being a high confidence bump in credits for completion and experience. those statements contradict each other. I realize captain in need removes half of the location criteria but there's still a good chance that the turn in is a no show.

also fyi you have 4k credits to start the game with the expansion - not 3k. having more credits probably would "de-stifle" other starting ship compositions.
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pears wrote:
I think this is the third time this thread where someone has highlighted an incorrect rule usage. In the expansion getting missions is limited to (quote) You may take this (Minor) Action once per Mission Point per turn. This isn't a house rule it is THE rule.

so this, in my opinion, negates your experience that Captain in need supplies experience that is easily "cashed in". I've started games with mcomps and turned in many missions, having lots of completed missions (experience) sitting there b/c i haven't found a duplicate type (locations aren't there, or some other issue, or simply not seeing the card type) - It's all statistics and i'm sure the actual numbers paint a different picture than your groups experience (again using the correct rule).

it's also interesting that you call early missions out for being difficult to pinpoint but defend captain in need as being a high confidence bump in credits for completion and experience. those statements contradict each other. I realize captain in need removes half of the location criteria but there's still a good chance that the turn in is a no show.

also fyi you have 4k credits to start the game with the expansion - not 3k. having more credits probably would "de-stifle" other starting ship compositions.


I think you're right. Seems I'm not the only one who has that wrong however. Ta for pointing that out.

I suspect you're right that it negates the easy cashing in of expirance, However, with how our group plays, its still easy to 'cycle' the deck pretty aggressively.

Let me explain that contradiction: The early missions are difficult due to all the obvious reasons. However, when you are just looking for 1 mission that you can finish as fast as possible, at that stage, we have about 50% of the tiles out. and with the inclusion of 'target other players' quests its often enough you get one. Because at that point you're not looking for a quest thats easy, you're just looking for the one that gets you enough credits, so long as it can be done fast. Its two differnt 'stages' of the game, one where you've got maybe 5 or 8 tiles out, And one where everyone has explored 4 or sometimes more tiles on their turn (Our group is very blind-jump happy).

Hmm 4k credits might de-stifle it, or it might make it worse. as that's a t3 engine and a GTS, which is just 'go faster on average'
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pears wrote:
... In the expansion getting missions is limited to (quote) You may take this (Minor) Action once per Mission Point per turn. This isn't a house rule it is THE rule.
...

Good note. This limitation wasn’t there in the base game since you immediately selected your mission then couldn’t pick up any more if you had an active mission. Glad we played it that way even before the expansion.

pears wrote:
... also fyi you have 4k credits to start the game with the expansion - not 3k. having more credits probably would "de-stifle" other starting ship compositions.

It’s common in my group to take a shield as one item - with more credits an envro shield is as common as the GTS. I think the Mission Comp. has only been chosen once as a starting outfit but perhaps I’ll try it next time.
 
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Tyinsar wrote:
pears wrote:
... In the expansion getting missions is limited to (quote) You may take this (Minor) Action once per Mission Point per turn. This isn't a house rule it is THE rule.
...

Good note. This limitation wasn’t there in the base game since you immediately selected your mission then couldn’t pick up any more if you had an active mission. Glad we played it that way even before the expansion.

pears wrote:
... also fyi you have 4k credits to start the game with the expansion - not 3k. having more credits probably would "de-stifle" other starting ship compositions.

It’s common in my group to take a shield as one item - with more credits an envro shield is as common as the GTS. I think the Mission Comp. has only been chosen once as a starting outfit but perhaps I’ll try it next time.


In our games we stole someone's variant from the forums dealing out two ship ability cards and picking one. This forces us to take starting hulls that are otherwise seldom played. Some of those hills won't hold a shield and a tier three plus a GTS.

Having the GTS to mitigate streaks of ones is important enough that we start with D8 engines more often.

We also usually stop after we get that first 2000 credits in order to buy eco shield outfits or cargo pods depending on the map. Or extra GTS units if a lot of our extra blank decors came out.
 
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Ahhh I think you're right about the gts. That may exacerbate things for yall.
 
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Phogg wrote:
In our games we stole someone's variant from the forums dealing out two ship ability cards and picking one. This forces us to take starting hulls that are otherwise seldom played. Some of those hills won't hold a shield and a tier three plus a GTS.

Having the GTS to mitigate streaks of ones is important enough that we start with D8 engines more often.

We also usually stop after we get that first 2000 credits in order to buy eco shield outfits or cargo pods depending on the map. Or extra GTS units if a lot of our extra blank decors came out.


I love the variant. and I think I'm going to steal it. However, I am highly confident most (if not all) t1 ships can hold a t3+gts And with the 4k as mentioned above. going t3+gts is easy to start.

Our group has found stopping for eco shields isn't worth it till you've hit t2 ships. As having a higher energy reserve and a 'specialised' ability is far more important than outfits, as we'll often overshoot the 5k needed and up with 6 or 7k from missions or similar things (2 tokens + 1k from token bonus (cube or mission token) +3k from a mission or similar combo) you just teir up then by some kit.

Imgr gallery of the T1 ships with gts+t3 engine. https://imgur.com/gallery/C04Q4k1
I agree there isn't much cargo space/damage space, but when you're just running around grabbing any and all tokens it doesn't really matter, you need at most 2 spaces.
 
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Eddieddi wrote:
I agree there isn't much cargo space/damage space, but when you're just running around grabbing any and all tokens it doesn't really matter, you need at most 2 spaces.


Are you putting the exploration tokens in your cargo spaces?
 
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