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Subject: I'd rather have the rock striders rss

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Joe Grundy
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I've said it before and I'll say it again. In the opening discoveries in Nexus Ops, I'd rather have Rock Striders than two point mines. (And as I come to post this I discover that someone else has recently posted a session report supporting this contention.)


The Game

In the opening of this particular Christmas game, Green went first but surrendered the going-first leverage by not pushing hard into exploration. Blue went second and Red went third, and in the ensuing claiming of territory Blue discovered four rock striders and Red discovered all four two-point mines.

Blue immediately (successfully) lobbied Green to attack Red, given Red's superior income base. Faced with the dual onslaught and so few troops on the board, Red's territory was immediately eroded, yielding mines on both fronts. Blue took advantage of not having to worry about Red to push one of his Rock Strider recruits onto the monolith.

Red tried a couple of early forays which had quite good chances of resulting in reclaiming territory, but in both cases his forces were (against the odds) wiped out. Given Blue's obvious early dominance, Red spent the rest of the game in a truce with Green (leaving two mines on their border mutually unoccupied and uncontested) while Red barely resisted the pressure on his Blue front.

From this point Blue was unstoppable. Green dropped high-end units onto the board and gradually mounted a heavy-firepower strike force while Red rolled human after human into the Blue meat grinder, with a couple more opportunities to reclaim some territory barely denied toward the endgame.

The Energize cards gave very little to the players in this game. Red got an extra Crystaline and three Rubium, Blue upped the odds in a couple of combats that were biased but not decided by the additional cards, and Green reversed the attack sequence in assistance of a Red human defence against Blue rock striders at one point but it made no difference to the result.

In the final turn, with 9VP under his belt and dominance of the board Blue realised he didn't have to worry about holding territory or the monolith any more and claimed some white and red Secret Mission points to total 13 and win the game.


The Final Position:



Afterthoughts

This was an interesting play, in spite of never scoring a point. (I was Red.) I toyed with a couple of options ... I had the Energize card to move a Rubium dragon anywhere so spending my entire rubium supply in a turn I could have dropped a dragon on the board directly behind Blue's front line and distracted him. But I felt it wasn't far enough from his home base ... he could have just followed up with a couple of rock striders and a few humans and I'd lose the dragon anyway.

Green tended to stay too close to home. Had he pressed harder on Blue's other flank or claimed the monolith the game would have been a few turns longer. I think Blue would still have won.

Essentially... the player with hordes of Rock Striders on the board from early discoveries is simply going to walk all over the player with many mines and no units. Soon some of the mines will transfer to the player with the Rock Striders from which point the others are fighting an uphill battle.

As such, had Green and Red sided against Blue at the outset the game would have been more even handed. But one round of "bash the Miner" at the beginning was enough to pip Red's chances from the outset.

But still a great game, trying to wedge a crack in Blue's position.
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mar hawkman
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Well, in theory, If no one had bothered Red, then Red would have had a major advantage. But, it's kinda like popping a soap bubble. Red has no defense and thus cannot actually hold their territory. If blue had failed to take someone else's territory, then they would have been SOL as they would be unable to replenish their forces fast enough.
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David desJardins
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jgrundy wrote:
I've said it before and I'll say it again. In the opening discoveries in Nexus Ops, I'd rather have Rock Striders than two point mines.


Well, of course. I think that's pretty obvious.
 
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Chris
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Nice session report. This confirms my assertion that winning has nothing to do with rubium income, but how well you play. Yes, striders are superior, but I think whoever makes the best decisions could still win with either setup. Blue did the right thing and pressed his advantage by taking the monolith and aggressive expansion. He also went for a last turn blitz, abandoning his positions to get the final scoring he needed. In a situation where someone has nothing but 2 mines, instead of rolling human after human into the Blue meat grinder, it would be better to retreat from those mines back towards their home base. When the opponent advances, his army would be thinned out, your armies would be consolidated, he would be further from reinforcements, and the retreater would be closer to reinforcements to launch a counter attack. If I ever see a position where my opponent could score points, I retreat from that position. I'd much rather let my opponent have rubium than victory points.
 
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Joe Grundy
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Darth Headbutt wrote:
When the opponent advances, his army would be thinned out,
To the tune of a single cheap unit per hex with a mine. (Non-mine interior hexes of course can be left empty.) Not exactly draining.

Edit: and note that the 2pt mine on the crystal spires between Red and Blue is only one move from Blue's base, so instant reinforcements there are no problem.


Let me put it this way. Something like:

After 2 turns:

BLUE
Total rubium earned = 11 + 9 + 9 = 29
Total units discovered = 4 rock striders + 2 fungoid/crystalines = 30 rubium worth of units.
Total value = 59 rubium.
Ongoing income is going to be 9 or 10 rubium (taking the 1pt mine in the south west).

RED
Total rubium earned = 14 + 12 + 16 = 42
Total units discoverd = 1 rock strider + 1 fungoid/crysatlines = 9 rubium worth
Total value = 51 rubium.
Ongoing income is going to be 12 or 13 rubium from here on (ie certainly the 2pt mine on the crystal spires will be contested, and the 2pt mine near Green).


Blue has highly mobile strength predeployed through his expansion. If Red yields the 2pt mine on the crystal spires hex, Blue and Red income will be the same but Blue has more forces on the board and less to defend.

Then the question is "what will Green do?"

In this case, Green hit Red hard and ignored Blue in the third turn. So not only would it have been at least three turns before Red could have equalised the deficit vs Blue, but instead Red's front line was immediately pounded into the ground on all sides.

And this is the critical point. It's not a "whole game" thing. Red strikes out in exploration and turns up mines. Green says "oooh, MINES!" and pounds Red. Blue says "oooh, MINES!" and pounds Red. Red's forces are decimated compared to either Green or Blue, and Red only got use of those mines for one turn. The mines wind up reasonably evenly distributed between the three players BUT Red has few initial forces, especially compared to Blue.

I'd rather have the Rock Striders. Every time I've seen a lopsided distribution, including when it favours me, the Rock Striders win.
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mar hawkman
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iMO it's not quite as simple as "I have more stuff". Where you have stuff is also of great importance. finding 2 point mines next to your homebase would be awesome. Rockstriders? I'd rather find those a bit farther away.
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