I've played this game once with some quite HC gamers and so found it a bit hard to get a sense of strategy. I got the game at Christmas (thanks sis) and have had quite a lot of time to study the rulebook and think a bit about strategy.
My question is about initial tile placement in a 6 player game. When I played before I got a mix of good and bad. I thought that it's best to place my 'best' planet(s) in ring 2, directly in front of my homeworld. However, I'm less clear where to place other stuff. Should I place my second best planet in ring 1 nearest to my homeworld to give me a good run at Mercatol Prime (which seems important in many of the ways to score VPs)? This would then create a 4 system empire which I could then use as a foundation for the rest of the game, adjusting my strategy depending on the objectives set.
Alternatively should I build based entirely on the objectives especially for conditions such as 'Keeper of Gates', 'Technocrat' or 'Focused'?
With regard to tiles to flank my homeworld - should I place junk there, such as an Asteroid Belt. Or should I place high value planets that will be easy for me (but also my opponent) to conquer.
Best answer before the end of February 2008 gets a 0.50GG tip.
Now there's a competition...
- Last edited Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:16 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:04 pm
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I always place the best stuff nearest my home world. I also decide who of my two neighbors is more likely to attack me and put any and all deterents on that side. That leaves the rest of the systems to go around me where possible.
Remember that other people are usually messing with you too as they place their stuff, so you have to kind of react to what happens. Because of this screwage factor, these are suggestions at best.
One of the things I have often done when placing systems is leave myself with one good system and one not-so-good system at the end. Place the one good one next to my homeworld and then place the other one next to an opponent's homeworld (making sure it is someone who is not adjacent to myself and preferably someone who is not too aggressive). The hopefully, I can get another player to place a good system adjacent to me with their last tile. Unfortunately, this also makes you a target if you screw someone over, but that is part of the game. I wouldn't use this strategy every time, but it is good to throw out there every now and then.
I usually place good stuff between me and Mecatol Rex, because I know that's the way I'm headed.
But then I can never bear to part with the other good stuff I got dealt, so I end up putting it by myself in the 6th ring.
As a general principle, always care first about getting yourself some good tiles before trying to screw some other player.
Have in mind your Secret Objective(SO) and your neighbors races. If you have a Mecatol Rex(MR) related SO, then do as you suggest and place a good planet in the first ring to have a base of operations towards MR.
But that depends on your Home System(HS) too. Hacan, for example, are best when having all 3 Space Docks (SD) at their home system. So for them is not so important to build another near or adjacent to MR. For others, like Sol, with only one planet in their HS, it's a good idea to place a double planet adjacent MR to build your another 2 SDs there and have a solid forward base to MR.
Those who have 2 planets in their HS must decide. For some, like Letnev (best starting planets), it's better to build 2SDs at their HS. Others, like Yssaril (crappy 2nd planet at HS) can do without and may be better off building their other 2 SDs somewhere else.
Have in mind that some SOs require a SD in MR an other don't. But remember that you're allowed to scuttle units (and SDs are units) in status phase, destroying them to build another somewhere else. It's an expensive way of changing a SD location, but sometimes it can be the only way.
So, to sum up, to see what the hell do you place adjacent to MR, you have to mind:
-Your SO: If it's MR related or not. If it requires an SD at MR or not.
-Your HS, and how many SDs you want to build there.
About non MR related SOs.
If you get Keeper Of The Gates(KotG), try to place at least a wormhole(wh) near your HS. The ideal setup for a KotG is to have Lodor (alpha wh with planet) or Quann (beta wh with planet) directly adjacent to your HS. Then build a SD there, and you have easy access to 2 wormholes!!
If you get Merciless(destroy the last SD of an enemy player) or Conqueror (conquest another player HS), watch the guy on your left. Those SOs are HARD. If you have a very good player on your left, consider forgetting about the SO entirely, focusing in Public Objectives instead. If you still want to go for it, try to place an average planet between the two of you. But be careful. For these SOs, surprise is paramount. If the other suspects, there's no way. So don't try not to make him suspect with your system placement. With such SO you'll probably NEED to build a SD near your target, even if you're Hacan. But don't build it too soon!! The only way to achieve this SO is to make a surprise attack, then mop up the rest as quickly as possible.
For the rest of non MR related SOs, you'll need to be flexible. Consider building a base near MR too. That will make think your fellow players you'r going for MR when in fact what you want is to be in strike distance of as many systems as possible, to get those tech specialties planets or whatever you need.
Now, about your flanks.
Watch your neighbor on your right. He gets almost always to choose Strategy Card(SC) before you. He's the hunter and you are his natural prey
If your neighbor on your right has a very mobile or aggressive race (Yssaril, L1z1x, Mentak) consider putting some barrier between the two of you (Supernova, Nebula, Asteroids) or at least some empty space so you are not so attractive to him. Norr, while it's supposedly the ultimate combat race, have such a crappy starting fleet and average planets that is not a real threat in the early game. They expand slowly. Mentak and Yssaril are much more dangerous in the early game.
Of course, if you know the guy on your right, have that into account when assessing the threat level
Then have a look on the player on your left. Apply the same principles but, as you'll get to choose SC before him, you're almost guaranteed to be able to choose a higher initiative SC if you NEED to act before him to make a preventive strike or position units for defense. He is the one who should be worried about you
About Wormholes (non KotG SO), two options mainly.
Agressive setup: Place them so you put in contact two players that could otherwise just ignore each other.
Defensive setup: If you get a WH placed near you, place the other so you can go from your right flank to the left flank in a single move, or just place them adjacent to nullify their effect.
Of course, most of the time you just do what you can with whatever tiles you got