Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Race for the Galaxy: The Gathering Storm» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Understanding the place of military strength rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
Introduction

Ever since the first player flipped up their New Sparta starting world, there has been attention paid to a strategy involving military, perhaps even as a primary growth engine. After all, you don't actually have to pay costs to play worlds - that's a lot of card efficiency. Still, game after game, it seems this never works as well as the impression would imply. Perhaps a more detailed look might shed light on this incongruity.

Statistics and Facts

There are 136 cards. Only 29 of them are worlds which require military to settle;

8 which require 1 military
7 which require 2 military (one of which is New Sparta)
6 which require 3 military (one of which is Damaged Alien Factory)
3 which require 4 military
2 which require 5 military
2 which require 6 military
1 which requires 7 military

You have the following cards that raise your military total;

Space Mercenaries = +1, up to +3
Expedition Force = +1
New Military Tactics = +3 (one use)
Space Marines = +2
Drop Ships = +3
New Galactic Order = +2

Epsilon Eridani = +1
Former Penal Colony = +1 (requires 1 to play)
New Sparta = +2 (requires 2)
Separatist Colony = +1
Blaster Gem Mines = +1
Rebel Warrior Race = +1 (requires 3 to play)
Alien Robot Scout Ship = +1 (requires 4 to play)
Imperium Armaments World = +1
Lost Alien Warship = +2 (requires 5 to play)
Rebel Outpost = +1 (requires 5 to play)
Lost Alien Battle Fleet = +3 (requires 6 to play)

Thus, only 15 cards can provide a military total without requiring some in the first place; 16 cards if New Sparta is counted as a starting world, but lowered if other starting worlds are in play as well.

Basic Analysis

What can we conclude from this information?

1) There is no "military only" strategy. - There are just not enough worlds to reliably draw them and fill your tableau with a good number of points. Trying to play such a strategy is a recipe for failure. Instead, military enjoys its best chance of success as a component in another, more general strategy.

2) A little bit of military opens your options. - About 1 card in 4 is a military world. With only +1, +2, or +3 military, you significantly improve the chances that any world you might draw you could play. And it is easy to achieve a touch of military with all the military developments.

3) 3 is a magic number for military strength. - Only 8 cards are not playable with 3 military. This lends a lot of weight to the value of Space Mercenaries and New Military Tactics - especially the Mercenaries, which provide some flexibility.

4) Military assisted strategies coordinate well with development strategies. - The main sources of military power and benefits are developments. So, the main military synergy is with developments, although almost any strategy can benefit from the increased ability to play more cards coming into hand.

5) Specialized military is not military strategy, it is specialty strategy. - It is tempting to think of the +4 to settle Rebel worlds on Galactic Imperium as a military card oriented around a military strategy, but in reality this is a Rebel strategy. While military can help the Rebel strategy just like it can help the development strategy or the consumption strategy, the reverse is not true.

Conclusion

If we want to make the best use of military strength, we've got to recognize that it is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Only one card gives us points for military strength directly, but investing in military strength to some degree helps many other strategies we might pursue. The next time you find Space Mercenaries or Space Marines in your hand and think "but I'm not playing military strategy" stop yourself and instead consider what judicious use of force of arms can offer almost anyone.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave J McWeasely
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmb
cosine wrote:

4) Military assisted strategies coordinate well with development strategies. - The main sources of military power and benefits are developments. So, the main military synergy is with developments, although almost any strategy can benefit from the increased ability to play more cards coming into hand.


Look at the MilStrat over time as compared to the Prod strategy:

Strat Early . . . . . . . . Mid . . . . . . . . . . Late
Mil Dev, Trade, Explore Settle
Prod Settle, Trade, Produce 2x,Prouce


Early on, when Prod has to call his own Settles, Produces, AND trades, he's quite clumsy. About the time he can switch to 2x because he has a functioning card drawing engine, he's looking to leech Mil's settles. For its part, Mil has less card turnover than Prod, so is looking to store a few choice acorns for later. Even if Mil blitzes out and gets 6 military immediately, its not wise to call Settle for a Prod strategy that's got an functional engine. Prod'll invariably build Alien Toy Shop and 2x it four times for 16vp over the course of the game, which is much more than the 6 you get of the early settle of Rebel base.

So save the settles for later. Develop your developments early. If Prod calls settle, sure, put down a "free" military world, and trade the good. Use the proceeds to fund more development.

The key difference between developments and worlds is that developments can't produce. So don't pick settle early where production greatly helps your opponent.

4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Silverman
United States
Waltham
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I will note that this is not really true in 2-player. In that you can very nearly settle-trade military windfalls forever, leeching off of develops and tossing in an occasional explore +5 if you run out of military worlds.

Essentially, military becomes paired directly with windfall trading. Trying to do this in more than 2 player is a bit trickier, because you either have to leech settles and call trade without a good (risking wasting your choice) or take twice the amount of time, letting people catch up.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
MrWeasely wrote:
So save the settles for later. Develop your developments early.


This is an important conclusion, not the least because it is directly counter-intuitive. After all, the person who thinks "I'm gonna play military" is gonna think "I need to settle worlds - it is how I get points."
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
silvergoose wrote:
I will note that this is not really true in 2-player.


I disagree. Well, are you saying you disagree with the core observation that there are not enough military worlds to reliably win by using a "military only" strategy?

To me, the number of cards in the deck interferes with trying to use military as a game winning strategy. That doesn't change with the number of players.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John "Omega" Williams
United States
Kentwood
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Now if only we could sneak in those Planet Buster weapons from Star of the Guardians... heh-heh.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not yet updated for Gathering Storm, but still mostly relevant:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/338749

I'll probably redo that series of articles once the 2nd expansion comes out. Hasn't seemed necessary with the minimal stuff that tGS added.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
byronczimmer wrote:
Hasn't seemed necessary with the minimal stuff that tGS added.


It's interesting to me... The Gathering Storm radically changed the game in my view. Essential cards were added, not the least of which were revised "military" home worlds like Separtist Colony and developments like Space Mercenaries (which I think I have underestimated in the past)...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B C Z
United States
Reston
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cosine wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Hasn't seemed necessary with the minimal stuff that tGS added.


It's interesting to me... The Gathering Storm radically changed the game in my view. Essential cards were added, not the least of which were revised "military" home worlds like Separtist Colony and developments like Space Mercenaries (which I think I have underestimated in the past)...

Put another way - I haven't gotten to it due to other commitments, and now plan on doing a full update when expansion 2 comes out.

Of interest are things like the new 6-? dev which allows you to draw a card on production for each military world.

School, Taxes, then BGG mega-articles.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.