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Subject: What to do? Military strategy for AC? rss

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Martijn Vos
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Sometimes you get a wonderful card draw with so many options that you can't choose. You want it all, and therefore you screw up.

Homeworld is Alpha Centauri, the two opponents are ELC and New Sparta.

Here's the initial 6 cards, from which two need to be discarded:

Lost Alien Battle Fleet
Drop Ships
Space Marines
Epsilon Eridani
Pan Galactic League
Galactic Trandsetters

A military strategy is not the most obvious route for Alpha Centauri, but you've got all the cards to go all the way to LABF. But how do you pay for them? And you'll have to discard Galactic Trendsetters, which is one of those winning miracle cards if you want to do a produce/consume cycle. But if you keep it, you're not going to make it all the way to LABF.

What to do?
 
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Kester J
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You're right to be cautious, it's a trap. You can't play all three of those military cards without having to discard some of the others, and even if you did it, it'd take you ages to get to LABF for a relatively small gain. If you had New Galactic Order it might be worth it, but otherwise you're spending 4+ turns to get an alien production and 4VP. 9 military is overkill without NGO. Galactic Trendsetters is the best play from this hand.
 
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Martijn Vos
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What I ended up doing was discard Drop Ships and Pan Galactic League, keeping LABF hoping to draw NMT later on. The first turn trade gave me Mining Robots and Mining Conglomerate (usually good cards for AC), and Black Market Trading World (great for leeching off other people's produce/consume cycles). The tough choices aren't going away.

I also picked up Rebel Miners at some point, played Space Marines mostly to get the Rebel Miners on the table, and discarded the Mining Robots, while holding on to LABF for a while longer.

Then I drew former Penal Colony and Armaments World. The military strategy kept haunting me, and yet all these cards were still too expensive, so I finally decided to get rid of those cards.

Shame, really. I mean, if this isn't enough to get a military strategy going, then what is?
 
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Randall Bart
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mcvos wrote:
Shame, really. I mean, if this isn't enough to get a military strategy going, then what is?

The military strategy is luck based. If you have the right cards to start a military strategy, you are still likely to get the wrong cards and find it fizzles. I had New Sparta and played Drop Ships, for 5 military. I did Explore +5 and got no military worlds. I did Explore +5 and the only military world I got was cost one for no VPs and no powers. I did Explore +5 and got both Rebel Home World and Lost Alien Warship. Those are two great cards, but I could only keep one. I tossed Rebel Home World, because I wouldn't be able to play it until I got more military, so I figured it was better to improve my military. Then I got loads of red pluses. My military power was at 10 when I drew Space Marines.

I hate, hate, hate New Sparta. Either I go for a non-military strategy (in which case I clearly have the worst home world) or I go for a military strategy (in which case this game is more luck than skill). The game needs tweaking to reduce the luck element with a military strategy.
 
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If I start off with New Sparta, I find myself more often straying from the "set path" and going something else like P/C then if I start off with something like AC and straying away from the brown strategy
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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mcvos wrote:
What I ended up doing was discard Drop Ships and Pan Galactic League, keeping LABF hoping to draw NMT later on.

...

Shame, really. I mean, if this isn't enough to get a military strategy going, then what is?


My favorite saying is "Hope is not a strategy." LABF is a terrible card to have in your hand early, even if you are going military. It's too hard to get out, it's just dead weight in your hand for the first few turns, unless you have some miraculous starting hand with New Sparta, NMT, and LABF or something else equally improbable. The question of getting a military strategy working is not just a question of what, but also of when. Ideally, you want to draw things like LABF, big rebel worlds, the new galactic order, etc, after you already established your military and you can drop them immediately. The longer you need to hold them whilst build up your military, the more it hurts.

I'd much rather see something like the alien robot sentry (2 defense alien military) or the rebel warrior race (+1 military, 3 defense genes military) in my starting hand if I am planning to go with a military strategy. You always want to get your card flow going early. Getting points down is something to concern yourself with later.
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Charlie Herrick
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If I got Galactic Trendsetters from the jump, I would go that route 95% of the time.
 
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Charlie Herrick
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...and hope for Galactic Renaissance.
 
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Martijn Vos
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Barticus88 wrote:
I hate, hate, hate New Sparta. Either I go for a non-military strategy (in which case I clearly have the worst home world) or I go for a military strategy (in which case this game is more luck than skill). The game needs tweaking to reduce the luck element with a military strategy.


I think New Sparta can be okay if you do a flexible hybrid strategy. Don't go pure military, but if you draw military cards, you're better able to play them than others. All those Gene winfalls are easy to play for Sparta. Ofcourse the real problem there is that military production worlds are very rare.
 
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Martijn Vos
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charlieherrick wrote:
...and hope for Galactic Renaissance.


No Galactic Renaissance, unfortunately, but I did discover a really cool new strategy: the pure Consume strategy (instead of consume/produce). I think I ended up with two blue production worlds and one brown production world (later Mining Robots turned AC into a second brown production world), and for a long time Galactic Trendsetters was my only consumption world (I later played Mining Conglomerate to consume brown production).

So the fun thing is that for a long time Consume 2xVP consumed only a single good, but with 3 production worlds, I could consume 3 turns in a row. By that time, someone else would have played a Produce, and I could keep consuming indefinitely. I had some brown (and general) trade bonuses, so when I needed cards I did a Consume-trade, leeching settles and develops of other players, and won.

The fun thing here is that even of another player gets 3 VP per consume but can only consume every other turn, my 2 VP per turn still wins.
 
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mcvos wrote:
What I ended up doing was discard Drop Ships and Pan Galactic League, keeping LABF hoping to draw NMT later on. The first turn trade gave me Mining Robots and Mining Conglomerate (usually good cards for AC), and Black Market Trading World (great for leeching off other people's produce/consume cycles). The tough choices aren't going away.

I also picked up Rebel Miners at some point, played Space Marines mostly to get the Rebel Miners on the table, and discarded the Mining Robots, while holding on to LABF for a while longer.

Then I drew former Penal Colony and Armaments World. The military strategy kept haunting me, and yet all these cards were still too expensive, so I finally decided to get rid of those cards.

Shame, really. I mean, if this isn't enough to get a military strategy going, then what is?

Once Mining Robots + Mining Conglomerate are in my hand as AC, I would no longer be tempted to keep LABF. At this point my card income is relatively high - and I'm looking for ways to convert cards into efficient VP. NMT -> LABF is *not* particularly high-scoring, so no.

I hope you settled Imperial Armaments World though?!
 
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Greg Jones
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Keep:

Drop Ships
Space Marines
Pan-Galactic League
Galactic Trendsetters

Just to say you're going to go military is not a strategy. You need a way to increase the amount of points the military strategy is worth. Pan-Galactic League is one way to do that. A lot of green worlds are military, so it helps to have some military when going that way.

Space Marines is the next most important card. 2 military strength is actually enough to settle most of the green military worlds.

Galactic Trendsetters are almost always great, but especially when you go military. Most military worlds don't have Consume powers, and Galactic Trendsetters can make up for that.

Keeping Drop Ships leaves you the option to go more heavily military. When you trade your brown good, if you get some nice (especially green) more expensive military worlds, then you would think about building Drop Ships.

Discard:

Lost Alien Battle Fleet
Epsilon Eridani

Epsilon Eridani is too expensive for just 1 military strength. Yes, it gets you to Lost Alien Battle Fleet, but don't be so fixated on one card. There will be other military worlds that come along. It's not worth holding Lost Alien Battle Fleet in your hand until the endgame when it's best to play it.

You might have a tough choice in round 1. If someone else calls Develop and no one calls Explore, should you build Space Marines and discard everything but Pan-Galactic League? It's a gamble. If you don't get a 2-strength or less military world, preferably green, from your trade, you're not off to a good start.

To avoid the tough call, I think I'd forgo Alpha Centauri's usual first-turn Trade and call Explore or Develop. I think I'd favor Explore +5. If you find a cheap military world, then it's not a gamble when you discard everything but this and Pan-Galactic League to play Space Marines. If you don't, then discard the Explore card and keep Pan-Galactic League and Drop Ships. With Drop Ships, you can be more confident that you'll eventually get military worlds you can afford.
 
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Martijn Vos
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You value Pan-Galactic League higher than Galactic Trendsetters? This game convinced me that Galactic Trendsetters is one of the best cards in the game, and nearly a winning strategy unto itself. I don't think I've ever seen Pan-Galactic League be worth very much.
 
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mcvos wrote:
You value Pan-Galactic League higher than Galactic Trendsetters? This game convinced me that Galactic Trendsetters is one of the best cards in the game, and nearly a winning strategy unto itself. I don't think I've ever seen Pan-Galactic League be worth very much.
Well, to be fair, Pan Galactic League generally doesn't score much due to setup, design, and circumstances of the game. In the base game, winning on a green strategy is definately possible, but it required practically all the right draws in the correct order. It's better in exp #1 since there are 2 6-cost devs that boost the green strategy, while extra cards were added in, so it really isn't the card itself. Otherwise, if you can milk both cards......


(III = -1 mil, V = draw 1 per genes world)
(2pts per green world, 1 per other military, 3pts for Contact Specialist)
PGL = 5 to 14 pts as a rough range
2 green worlds + 1 mil world
-through-
4 green worlds + 2 mil worlds + 1 Contact Specialist (countint the 1VP on the card itself)


GT = 3 + 4 to 12 rought range
1 to 3 Consumes x2


Generally, I personally would prefer GT, but PGL ain't half bad. That rough range doesn't figure in the points you'll get from the green worlds themselves. Plus, while -1 military is nothing to call home about, getting 1 card during Produce per green world can help out alot.

GT can be a disaster if you never get goods for it, or end up with a bunch of windfall worlds, as ideally, you would have a P/C/C cycle going, not just P/C, but not getting what you need for PGL is just as devastating. Last but not least, they're both about the same cost, that is, very expensive.
 
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