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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Strategy

Subject: I’ve got the Race for the Galaxy Blues rss

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I’ve got the Race for the Galaxy Blues

What follows is a discussion of the blue cards in Race for the Galaxy; and other cards which work well with them.

First off, every Blue World synergizes well with 3 of the Major Developments:


Together, these mean that each blue producing world is worth up to five extra points. For the low costs represented by these particular worlds, that’s a mighty fine deal indeed.

Lets delve into the Producing Blues first.

THE TWINS

The twins are so called because they share Cost and Intrinsic VP value, but have seemingly little to offer other than that. Looks can be deceiving.




Artist Colony

Artist Colony seems like such an unassuming little card. It’s worth one VP and costs 1 card, and is the only card that is a Producing World that doesn’t have some other icon or useful ability on it. Every other Producing World has an additional power or a Keyword (such as Rebel or Alien) associated with it.

But yet, Artist Colony can contribute so much more. Let’s see how.

Artist Colony can contribute a good. That good can then go on to be consumed for cards or VPs, probably VPs because the base value is so sad, and if your have any other option to trade for cards, that’s what you’re going to pick. Art generally isn’t worth much on the open market.

Artist Colony has synergy with the three mentioned Major Developments and one other:



Three VPs from Galactic Renaissance is nothing to sneeze at, and a strong blue tableau will be floating in VPs by the end as well.

This makes Artist Colony a sleeper of a card, worth a potential 9 VPs total, not counting VP chips gained from Consumption!

Secluded World
Secluded World has the same cost and intrinsic value as Artist Colony and with a Consume power that gives only a single card, it doesn’t seem like it has much to offer. When you consider that someone who has the RftG Blues probably isn’t trading all that often, the ability to call IV/x2 and still get cards can be pretty fantastic.

Secluded World works well with the three mentioned Major Developments and one other:



Being a World with a consumption power, even if it is weak, is worth a point from New Economy. This makes Secluded World worth up to 7, not counting cards drawn.

THE FIVE SISTERS




I call these the five sisters because they all share cost and intrinsic VP, yet each has their own special ability. Because of the shared base facets, it’s easy enough to deduce that each of these different powers has a similar final value.

The equivalent powers are:
$: +2 cards {for a specific color}
IV: 1 good => 1 VP
IV: 1 good => 2 cards
V: Draw a card on Produce

Spice World and Space Port
Each increases the value of the appropriate color of trade good by +2. This is a bit more synergetic with Spice World, since it modifies its own produced good whereas Space Port’s ability requires another card to become useful. Important to note is that you only get one TRADE per turn, but that blue goods have the highest possible trade value if you’re stacking a lot of trade bonuses.

Besides the base blue Major Developments, these worlds also synergize with one other.



Trade League gives the obvious bonus of +1 VP at the end of the game, making these worlds have a value of up to 7 each, but also frees the player from the need to call IV/$ as an action, instead allowing them to call IV/x2 or to build, not fearing someone else’s call of Trade eating up a valuable good. With only Trade League and Spice World out, you’re getting 5 cards for one Blue good – the same value as trading a hard to play Alien good!

Earth’s Lost Colony and New VineLand

If ELC is out as a Home World, it will benefit from every Produce and every Consume. Combined with the base Major Developments and New Economy, ELC can be worth up to 7 points, not counting the VPs generated. Even if not pulled as a Home World, ELC can be a welcome addition to a blue-centric strategy, though it’s less likely that will be a clear path with one of the other start worlds.

Being a Home World may skew ELC’s actual cost and VP values slightly, making ELC the ‘big sister’ of this group.

New Vineland also benefits from New Economy bringing its potential value also up to 7. The Cards generated from the trade power are the same as the base trade for a blue good; freeing up the possibility of calling Consume/x2 instead of Trade, all other things being equal.

Gem World
Besides being the planet of a rock band, Gem World is the only blue world to generate income during the Produce phase. It gains no extra synergy from additional Major Developments, fixing its total potential value at 6 VP, but the card income out of the normal sequence can give additional options on subsequent build turns. (See my article on “Rethinking the Phases” http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2505425 for more details.)

Prosperous World


The most expensive blue world, but it comes with its own consumption for VPs. Like ELC in all other ways, it costs 1 more card for 1 more VP and has a potential value of 8 when combined with the three Major Developments and New Economy.

THE WINDFALLS


Blue sports two windfalls that can be purchased, and the first one only costs the card itself! Though the windfalls lose synergy with Merchant World, and are worth less to the Free Trade Association, the immediate influx of a good at low cost can and will offset these issues. Further, these worlds benefit from Free Trade Association’s Produce ability to put a good onto a Blue Windfall, effectively making one of them into a normal producer.

Refugee World
You get what you pay for, and in this case, for the cost of only the card itself you get 1 intrinsic VP and up to 1 more each from FTA and SETI. Not a bad deal.

Galactic Resort
It’s like Prosperous World, only the trade gives an extra card and it’s a windfall. With an intrinsic value of 2 and +1 each from FTA, SETI and New Economy, this rings in at a potential value of 5 VP plus those generated from consumption and don’t forget about the extra cards being generated!

THE MILITARY
Blue centric strategies don’t tend to have a military aspect to them, but with a small military or the Contact Specialist, a few additional options open up. This means that Epsilon Eridani can benefit from the RftG Blues and even provide some extra consumption as well.





Aside from the usual blue related Major Developments, all of the military worlds also benefit from the Pan Galactic League, though it can be a fairly weak synergy. Combined with the Contact Specialists, the focus need not be on Green worlds though, and this Major Development can give an additional +1 to the value of each military blue.



Former Penal Colony
The only Blue to offer a bonus in Military, if you manage to get this one out (unless with the help of the Contact Specialist or New Military Tactics), you’re guaranteed to have accesses to ALL of the blues. Useful to New Sparta; EE with the Expeditionary Force; or anyone with Space Marines or New Galactic Order.

Speaking of NGO, Former Penal Colony synergizes with the usual suspects in the Major Development lineup in addition to New Galactic Order. It’s not a very good synergy, because if concentrating on blues, there’s not a lot of room for additional military, but it’s there if nothing better is presenting itself.



Star Nomad Lair
The little blue who thinks he’s a rare earth element world. This world is free if you already have the Contact Specialist out or have any positive military value. It benefits from all those great trade boosts we’ve already looked at. With an intrinsic value of 1 and a potential value of up to +4 more (FTA, SETI, PGL and TradeLeague), there’s a lot of goodness in this card.

Pirate World
Star Nomad Lair’s bigger and badder brother. Taking 3 military or costing 2 with the Contact Specialist, the Pirate World acts like an Alien Good! Combine that with the trade bonuses available to blue and this world can generate the single biggest trade in the game. Ringing in at 2 intrinsic points and the same +4 potential that Star Nomad Lair gets, this world is a powerhouse if you can get it out.

New Survivalists
Like the Star Nomad Lair, this card is free with the Contact Specialist or any positive standing military value. It has an intrinsic value of 1 and a potential value of +4 more. Its consume power brings us full circle back to Secluded World, only this one works with blue goods exclusively.

THE WANNA-BEs



Expanding Colony
Not really a blue producer, but in conjunction with any blue windfall, it sure acts like one. Expanding Colony synergizes with only two of the Major Developments, but can gain a potential +4 from them, bringing its possible value up to 5 VP. Add in the Consumption ability for VP chips and the Expanding Colony is a welcome addition to any Novelty Good Syndicate.

Consumer Markets
Consumer Markets is the final card associated directly with the RftG Blues. It gives decent consumption for VP chips and generates income during the Produce. Combined with the other card drawing possibilities for a Blue-Centric strategy, it’s possible to never have to call IV/$ in a game, instead relying on other income sources. With an intrinsic value of 3, this card shines when paired with multiple blue worlds that consistently produce and be consumed.

Distant World
Mentioned only because of the blue trade bonus, this wannabe is really an outlier, though it works well with some of the previously mentioned Major Developments and obviously will boost your trade value. If it’s available and your blues are in full swing, it’s not a bad card to branch out with.

THE OTHERS



Any of the normal powerhouses in the Consumption world, such as Galactic Trendsetters, Tourist World, Merchant World or Deficit Spending give a place for those extra goods and cards to be consumed for Victory Points. Also, in the final stage of the game, a well placed Pilgrimage World can yield a boatload of VPs by consuming goods that had previously been consumed for card income. All of these can be a bit pricy compared to the relatively cheap worlds so far, but that’s okay, you’ll have the needed cards.
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This sure looks a lot better when the [imageid=xxx inline] command works properly.
 
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byronczimmer wrote:
This sure looks a lot better when the [imageid=xxx inline] command works properly.


It's not working at present? That would explain why my use of it in My Profile started doing funny things. I ended up removing it.
 
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byronczimmer wrote:
This sure looks a lot better when the [imageid=xxx inline] command works properly.

I see the pictures just fine.
 
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Zhab wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
This sure looks a lot better when the [imageid=xxx inline] command works properly.

I see the pictures just fine.


I think he meant that they should be arranged horizontally.
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jdludlow wrote:
Zhab wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
This sure looks a lot better when the [imageid=xxx inline] command works properly.

I see the pictures just fine.


I think he meant that they should be arranged horizontally.


He did.

____________________________

So any comments on the content?
 
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byronczimmer wrote:
So any comments on the content?

byronczimmer wrote:
This makes Artist Colony a sleeper of a card, worth a potential 9 VPs total, not counting VP chips gained from Consumption!

I'm never sure how to talk about how many VPs a card provides. I think we need a unified theory post. For example, Artist Colony is clearly worth at least 1 VP. But say you produce two goods on it during the game... now how many was it worth? Saying 3 isn't really informative, because that means either you're saying the Consume powers that made the VPs possible aren't worth any VPs, or you're saying they are worth VPs and double-counting. If you play Galactic Renaissance, is it better to think of Artist Colony getting you +3 VPs or of GR being worth +3 VPs?

So let's say you're ELC and you start the game by settling Artist Colony. How many VPs is that worth? 9+Consuming is hugely misleading, but so is 1. Maybe some approximation of expected VPs? So say you'll build 0 6-devs 20% of the time, 1 6-dev 70% of the time, and 2 10%. That's 0+1.4+0.4=2.8 from 6-devs, and credit gets shared equally so half of that's Artist Colony. From consumption, let's say each Produce-Consume is worth about 1 VP, the credit for which gets shared between the world and the consumption power... and we'll P-C 3-5 times during the game. So another 1.5-2.5 points. Then a first turn Artist Colony is about 1+1.4+2 = 4.4 points for the cost of 2 cards (1 if you played Settle).

Of course I made lots of those numbers up but I think it's closer to a useful evaluation than looking at its maximum potential points. What we really need is an online implementation that keeps really good stats.
 
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GreedyAlgorithm wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
So any comments on the content?

byronczimmer wrote:
This makes Artist Colony a sleeper of a card, worth a potential 9 VPs total, not counting VP chips gained from Consumption!

I'm never sure how to talk about how many VPs a card provides. I think we need a unified theory post. For example, Artist Colony is clearly worth at least 1 VP. But say you produce two goods on it during the game... now how many was it worth? Saying 3 isn't really informative, because that means either you're saying the Consume powers that made the VPs possible aren't worth any VPs, or you're saying they are worth VPs and double-counting. If you play Galactic Renaissance, is it better to think of Artist Colony getting you +3 VPs or of GR being worth +3 VPs?


I've been working on a unified theory that deals with expected value for a while. You can go back to posts in January and February for some of my initial thoughts. Indeed, this post kind of came out of the prep work for that one.

Artist Colony costs 1 and is worth 1 by itself, with no interactions. I call this 'intrinsic value', and allude to it in this article.

Artist Colony + Galactic Renaissance is worth 3 points. Either alone is worth nothing extra, so only the pair is worth the bonus.

Merchant World scores 2 for each producing planet, of which Artist Colony is one. Therefor THAT pair is worth 2 points, but this time it need not be Artist Colony, it can be any solid planet. The same is true of SETI, where each planet is worth one. Neither card by itself produces value, it is the interaction which creates value.

Artist Colongy can produce, but not consume goods. That makes it 1 part of a set of two or more cards which can generate VPs via chips. This time, the pairing is "any producer" and "any consumer". A recent thread ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/2540411 ) discussed this from one perspective (that of #cards:#VPs), but there are other angles from which to approach the analysis.

So it's actual value (or that of any card mentioned) is that which is printed upon the card. But it can cause up to 9 points in your total tableau when it comes to the end of the game (assuming you have all the right cards in play).

Do we need a universal way to understand value of cards? Absolutely. Unfortunately, it's complicated by the factors of time and uncertainty. Time, because a produce/consume pairing (even if it appears in only one card, like ELC) wanes in value the closer the end of the game. A produce/consume pairing which never gets to consume is worth only the intrinsic value. A produce/consume pair which participates in 2 normal and 2 doubled consumptions is typically worth 6 points, far more than the single point supplied by Artist World's intrinsic Value.
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Neil Thomson wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
This sure looks a lot better when the [imageid=xxx inline] command works properly.


It's not working at present? That would explain why my use of it in My Profile started doing funny things. I ended up removing it.
Yeah, that was nice while it worked. I keep the tags in in the hopes that one day it may come back again.
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Well written post, I liked it.

I think you under emphasize the Consumer Markets, I think it's the #3 most desirable card in the blue production strategy (next to Free Trade Association and Merchant Guild), and considering it's not a 6-dev, it's easier to find than both of them. It should be near the top of the post, IMO.

One thing to notice is although the Distant World gives a +3 to trade novelty, genes already trade for two more than blues. Trading a green for 4 is not that much worse than trading a blue for 5. Given that and its high cost, unless it's coupled with other trade bonuses for blues, it doesn't really stand out against other production worlds.
 
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The color isn't really blue; it's cyan. (I should know; I picked it. Tom's original prototype used the blue from a blue highlighter pen.)

 
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onigame wrote:
The color isn't really blue; it's cyan. (I should know; I picked it. Tom's original prototype used the blue from a blue highlighter pen.)

I hope you can forgive us if we continue to call it blue. Much easier to say than cyan. Btw, is that pronounced "sigh-ann" or is it with a "K" sound?


Regarding the unified theory of race... In a different thread there was a discussion about consumption efficiency and the difference between VP/good and VP/tableau slot. I was wondering if the real question shouldn't be VP/cost. I don't even know where to begin calculating something like that unless you are already at the end of the game. Also, efficiency can only take you so far since the winner is determined by total points. Getting 4 points for 2 cards may be really efficient, but it might be better (especially late in the game) to grab 5 pts with 6 cards.
 
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There are multiple facets and a ratio can only compare two at a time.

intrinsic VPs
consumption VPs
combo VPs (with 6-cost developments)
cost
discounts and rebates
income generated
max number of cards in the combo (current combos are 1, 2, 3, 4 and N)
min number of cards in the combo (some combos can operate with fewer than the maximum)
time elapsed (in turns)
time until expected game completion (in turns)

And... getting back to my Knowledge article...
Probability of (not) getting a desired card

Tying it all together into a single formula or concept? Not easy, especially since I have detected a 'range' of 'expected VP' across different classes of cards, not counting the time element.
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kusinohki wrote:
I hope you can forgive us if we continue to call it blue. Much easier to say than cyan. Btw, is that pronounced "sigh-ann" or is it with a "K" sound?


The former. http://content.answers.com/main/content/ahd4/pron/C0831200.w...
 
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onigame wrote:
kusinohki wrote:
I hope you can forgive us if we continue to call it blue. Much easier to say than cyan. Btw, is that pronounced "sigh-ann" or is it with a "K" sound?


The former. http://content.answers.com/main/content/ahd4/pron/C0831200.w...


I did a quick reread of the rules, and interestingly -- the specific color of the 4 goods is never mentioned. The only reference to BLUE is that some of the homeworlds have a blue box surrounding their number.

Plus, now I can just imagine what the home-made first sets looked like, tracing a nickel with a highlighter.
 
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onigame wrote:
The color isn't really blue; it's cyan. (I should know; I picked it. Tom's original prototype used the blue from a blue highlighter pen.)



"I've got the Race for the Galaxy Cyans" doesn't have quite the same ring.
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byronczimmer wrote:
I did a quick reread of the rules, and interestingly -- the specific color of the 4 goods is never mentioned. The only reference to BLUE is that some of the homeworlds have a blue box surrounding their number.


And if you compare that box color with the novelty color, you'll see the difference between blue and cyan. :-)

Quote:
Plus, now I can just imagine what the home-made first sets looked like, tracing a nickel with a highlighter.


Why imagine? The image of two of the cards are available:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/image/278917

Note that the circles weren't colored in; there was a separate indication at the top of the cards for Windfall/Production.
 
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