Where'd he go?
Jon, Steve and I played 2 games of this last night. It was my first experience playing, Steve had played once before I think, and Jon had played quite a bit.
Or first game we played with the preset starting positions. Steve had the military based planet, and generally pursued a military strategy the whole game, I had one which seemed to be about Mining (brown) resources, cant remember what Jon's speciality was.
I dont remember too much from this game as I was still learning the rules. I do remember that I thought I had started well but because I didnt realise that you couldnt have more than one resource on a planet. I wasted a turn Producing when my home planet already had a resource on it. It was a minor setback though.
Steve moaned that he didnt draw the big cards he needed, and Jon and myself seemed to be following a similar pattern of Produce and Consume. I think I had placed too much emphasis on card drawing though, and wasnt really profiting as much as Jon, who had created a nice cycle of victory points. The game ended when we ran out of VP tokens. Steve finished on about 20, I had 30 odd, and Jon had 40 odd.
The second game we played with random starting planets. I got Old Earth, which seemed to be based around producing lots of goods. However, to play my starting hand optimally I ended up with a more military setup, so I went that way totally. I played cards out very fast, since military conquest is "free" once you have the strength. I had no cards in hand several times, and did a lot of Exploring.
Steve went for a Produce and Consume cycle, but this took too long to set up and he suffered from the fact I brought the game to a swift end. He again moaned that he did not draw the big cards he needed.
Jon had gone for an all Development strategy, having started with a fantastically synergistic hand for it - one which reduced the cost of Development, and another which let him draw cards when he played a Development card. He also got another card which reduced development costs, and was playing Deveopments for nothing or next to nothing. He managed to draw 3 of the 6-point Developments, which each gave him a healthy crop of VP.
The final turn saw me dig for a big Military planet, hitting the jackpot with the 7/7 Rebel Base, which I played as my 12th card. However, Jons Development machine had proven to be too efficient for even my rampant Imperialism to match. Final scores were something like Steve 21, Me 32, Jon 35.
It did kind of feel like playing solitaire - the player interactions were subtle, but they were there - like my bringing the game to a swift end affected the other players strategies. Regardless of the relatively little interaction and no backstabbing opportunity, it was great fun anyway. Its medium-short play time means it could act as a filler game, so I have no doubt I will play again soon.