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

Subject: Strategy Pop Quiz #1 rss

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Brian Stock
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PUZZLE TIME!
Here's a puzzle for all you strategy master-minds. devil I will give you two game tableaus exactly half-way through the game. Your opponent has a significant advantage. Can you choose 6 cards to turn your tableau from a flop to a winner? I'll give my solution in a week, but maybe you'll have a better one.

OPPONENT'S TABLEAU
EARTH'S LOST COLONY (Blue Production World, consume 1 good > 1 VP)
GALACTIC BAZAAR (Blue Windfall World, +1 on blue trade, 1 deficit spending)
MERCHANT WORLD (+2 on any trade, 2 deficit spending)
DISTANT WORLD (Green Production World, +3 to blue trade)
SPICE WORLD (Blue Production World, +2 on blue trade)
TRADE LEAGUE (+1 on any trade, may trade one card on any consume) (2 VPs per development with a trade power, 1 VP for a world with a trade power)

YOUR TABLEAU
NEW SPARTA (2 Military)
NEW VINLAND (Blue Production World, consume 1 good > 2 cards)
GALACTIC TREND SETTERS (consume 1 good > 2 VPs)
PLAGUE WORLD (Green Production World,consume 1 green good > 1 card and 1 VP)
AVAIN UPLIFT RACE (Green Windfall World)
GALACTIC GENOME PROJECT (consume 2 green goods > 3 VPs) (2 VPs per green planet, 3 VPs for genetic labs)

THE QUIZ
Choose six cards from the deck to solve the puzzle. (EDIT: Don't think of this as a real game, but as a simulation, like the solitaire game.) Complete your tableau under the following guidelines:

A) These cards must allow you to get at least 8 cards every production phase.
B) You may only choose one additional 6-point card.
C) You may only put down a card if you COULD hypothetically play it. (No playing a 5-point military planet if you don't first boost your military to five points (or find another way to play it)).
D) Other than that knock yourself out. The more affordable the solution, however, the better.

EDIT: Under the above conditions, there are only a limited number of solutions, but some may be better than others. Tell me why your solution is the best one.

ADDITIONAL NOTES
Here's a few notes that might help you argue why your solution is best.

You've set yourself up for a consume-produce strategy, but your opponent just played trade league and can sell a blue good every time you consume. That blue good sells at +9! In addition, he can throw away 3 of the cards he receives for immediate VPs using deficit-style spending.

Both players start with a home world, 4 additional planets, and 1 6-point card. The opponent had put down cards costing 19 points, and you have put down cards worth 18 points. Your opponent has 8 raw VPs on his cards. You have 7 raw VPs on your cards. Neither of you have any VPs from consume actions yet. Neither of you have any goods on your planets. How many cards are in your hand is irrelevant, but the more economical your solution is, the better.

Oh! And don't scroll down until you try the puzzle yourself. Someone might give away the answer.

Enjoy the puzzle! cool

ADDITIONAL EDITS: Just clarifying some terms.
 
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B C Z
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1) Is HAND the cards in each player's hand or the actual played cards in the respective TABLEAUS?

2) Are we playing by advanced two player rules (2 role selections/turn)?

3) How many cards are currently in each players HANDS (not TABLEAUS).

4) What have been the role calls up to this point in the game?

5) Do cards in the TABLEAUS have any goods on them?
 
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Philip Thomas
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Galactic Bazaar only has 1 deficit spending...
 
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Brian Stock
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Thanks for catching the typo. I'll make the aim a little more clear in an edit.
 
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Chris Tyler
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Looking at both of these tableaus, I want to the second tableau. I can call Consumex2-Produce for the next three turns and reap thirty points (10-pts per consumex2). True, my opponent gets 9 cards and 4 points in each cycle, but assuming I have some cards in hand right now, I'll be able to leach a settle to get down another good production world, perhaps rebel miners, for instance, or a good production development, like Diversified Economy, and I think that I have a significant edge. Barring my opponent developing Galactic Federation or Improved Logistics, I think I've got the game locked up.

So, is the challenge to identify cards for the first tableau? This seems harder to me.
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B C Z
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I'm missing something.

Without knowing how many VPs have been taken, the arbitrary limit of picking 'six more cards' implies that the VP pool is unlimited.

If there is only 1 more VP left in the pool, my next action is very different than if there are still 20 VPs left.

Likewise, it's necessary to know how many cards are in your hand or an opponents.

This puzzle seems to be focusing on only the final tableau, but getting there is half the battle.

I want to try this, it sounds like fun, but as it's defined, it doesn't make sense.
 
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Brian Stock
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Think outside the box a little. It's a puzzle, not a game. Grab six cards that match the criteria. There aren't that many, so I want to see who can figure it out. We're ignoring the journey because it's a puzzle, not a game. But I also know there's more than one solution, so solutions that have more potential VPs and cost less are worth more.

The hand is pretty good, I admit, but go for a high score. All the VPs are still in the pool, by the way.

 
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Sean McCarthy
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What does it physically mean to "choose" 6 cards from the deck to "complete" my tableau? The game ends if I have 12 cards in it...
 
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Brian Preston
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Lost Species Ark World -> draw 2
Pan Galactic League -> draw 1 per gene world (3 for now)
Diversified Economy -> draw 2 (for now)
Consumer Markets -> draw 1 per novely good produced (1 for now)

At this point, you can either add 2 more blue production worlds to get 2 more out of Consumer Markets (Artist Colony, Secluded World) and thus be drawing 10 per production. Or replace either (or both) of these blue production worlds with a brown and/or yellow production world, and get 2 more out of Diversified Economy.

Heck, you could do (Gem World and (Mining World or Comet Zone)) and draw even more. I think that could have you drawing 12 per production phase, if you had a way to consume most of them.

So let's say the final 6 are:

Lost Species Ark World -> (green production world, draw 2 when produce)
Pan Galactic League -> draw 1 per gene world, == draw 3
Mining World -> (brown production world, draw 1 when produce)
Diversified Economy -> draw 1 per each different type == draw 3
Gem World -> (blue production world, draw 1 when produce)
Consumer Markets -> draw 1 per novely good produced == draw 2
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Nolan Lichti
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Contact Specialist 1/1
Lost Species Ark Worlds 5/3 (draw 2)
Hive World 2/2 (after CS bonus)
Malevolent Lifeforms 3/2 (after CS bonus)
Distant World 4/2
PGL 6/15 (draw 6)

Total Cost: 21
Total VP: 25 + 8 more on GGP = 33 VP

The unfortunate thing about this set up is that you can't consume all your goods in one turn. You consume 5 (of 7) for 6 VP and 3 cards (before doubling). However, I think the big VP bonus (4 points/gene world) outweighs any extra consumes you could get.
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NtN Scissors
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Under the terms of the puzzle, we are asked to find a twelve-card tableau which:
(i) does not contain any of the first set of six cards listed;
(ii) contains the second set of six cards listed;
(iii) draws at least 8 cards on a Produce called by an opponent;
(iv) minimises the cost ("the more affordable the better")
and where tie-breaks are decided by a nebulous "tell me why your solution is best", but where one possible interpretation is the number of VPs the tableau scores (assuming no consume), or another possible interpretation is the number of VPs it consumes for per turn (I'm suggesting this because of Galactic Trendsetters).

If so, by simply switching in Space Marines for Contact Specialist, I get a more "affordable" solution. Admittedly it scores less VPs, but under the terms laid out in the original post, this is a superior solution.

To continue, I could also take out Distant World (note: Distant World is in your opponent's tableau, so I don't think it's a legal card for you in the first place) and add in Aquatic Uplift Race. PGL doesn't actually require you to produce on the world in order to draw the card.

And so on. And these are just variations of your solution. Try harder?
 
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NtN Scissors
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What I've got for now:
Former Penal Colony 0/1 (Mil now at 3)
Rebel Warrior Race 0/2 (Mil now at 4)
Hive World 0/2
Malevolent Lifeforms 0/2
Rebel Underground 0/4 [draws 1]
Imperium Lords 6/9 [draws 7 for NS, Uplift, FPC, RWR, HW, ML, RU]

VPs from these 6 cards: 20 + 6 more on GGP.

I think there has to be better, because this solution is far from being unique - e.g. I can swap in Rebel Colony or either of the Uplift Races for Hive World & Malevolent Lifeforms. But I can't see it.
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Brian Stock
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These are some good solutions so far. I'm getting a few in my geek mail that I hope will be posted here soon. The debate seems to be whether it's better to go with Pan Galactic League or Imperium Lords.
 
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Nolan Lichti
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NtNScissors wrote:
If so, by simply switching in Space Marines for Contact Specialist, I get a more "affordable" solution. Admittedly it scores less VPs, but under the terms laid out in the original post, this is a superior solution.


True, more affordable (2 cost vs 5), which perhaps justifies the less VP (1 VP vs 4). Good catch. I guess I was using VP as my reason why it's better. Of course, using SM also assumes that you play PGL after you play Malevolent Lifeforms, which I guess is fair in the scope of the puzzle.

NtNScissors wrote:
To continue, I could also take out Distant World (note: Distant World is in your opponent's tableau, so I don't think it's a legal card for you in the first place) and add in Aquatic Uplift Race. PGL doesn't actually require you to produce on the world in order to draw the card.


Doh. I overlooked that DW was already out (what, we aren't playing with two decks? ). AUR (or Reptilian UR) is definitely a better card anyway. Cost 1 with CS, or free with SM, for 2 VP. I was looking for non-windfalls to produce for consumes, but I already pointed out that I was producing more than I could consume anyway, so a windfall is fine.

Also, my VP summary should have been + 12 more for GGP. I thought that was already counted in the OP, but I realize now that it wasn't.

But your Imperium Lords card play is probably better. That card isn't ingrained in me as much, since I just picked up the expansion. It's definitely much cheaper.
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Eric Jome
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brianstock wrote:
Can you choose 6 cards to turn your tableau from a flop to a winner?


When I play Produce, I have 1 blue, 2 green to consume. Consume * 2 nets me 10 points, 2 from Trendsetters for the good on New Vinland and 3 from Genome Project, then doubled. And it costs me no cards from hand.

When my opponent Produces, they have 3 blue, 1 green to consume. Consume * 2 nets them ... 2 points, unless they discard 3 cards for a total of 5 points? How exactly do you think that my opponent is going to possibly win this game? You claim that they are already far ahead?! They don't have a chance as it stands and they are going to have to be the one scrambling to catch me.

This game is already over... and I'm already winning by far. Why would I want 6 more cards to "help"? I want to avoid playing any more cards as long as possible and play only when my opponent foolishly allows me to get more worlds.
 
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Brian Stock
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Yes...I've already admitted that actually it's a pretty good hand. The original puzzle I had in mind was much harder, so I'm starting with an easier one to warm up. But the puzzle is to go for a high score in the tableau.
 
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mumu shanshi
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Quoting from a GeekMail to Brian, reposted here at his request.

mumushanshi wrote:
As stated in the requirements,

A) These cards must allow you to get at least 8 cards every production phase.

Because I am a pedant, I am assuming that means even if consume is never called, I will still get 8 cards on any produce. Which greatly restricts the choice of cards, as I must pick card-draw-on-produce powers that are independent of goods-producing. Namely,

1) Merchant Guild
2) Pan-Galactic League
3) Imperium Lords
4) Rebel Underground

Requirement: B) You may only choose one additional 6-point card.

Merchant Guild is out, as it only provides 2 cards. I must choose between PGL and IL.

Maximum card draw from PGL:
Plague World and Avian Uplift (already in tableau) = 2
Settle 5 more Genes worlds (6 spaces left in tableau -1 for PGL) = 5
is 7, too few.

Maximum card draw from IL:
New Sparta and Avian Uplift (already in tableau) = 2
Settle 5 more military worlds (6 spaces left in tableau -1 for IL) = 5
1 of which is Rebel Underground = 1 more
is 8, exactly as required.

To settle Rebel Underground, we need to boost our military to at least 3 using other military worlds, ie. we MUST settle Former Penal Colony. Otherwise, since all military worlds are "free" to settle, cost will be identical and we will focus on maximising VPs.

After IL, FPC and RU, we have 3 more spaces in tableau. The question is if it is better to settle more genes worlds (scoring well for Galactic Genome) or ramp up military to the high-scoring rebel worlds. It turns out that getting to 5 military via Rebel Warrior Race, Alien Robot Scout Ship and Rebel Outpost scores worse than simply a selection of military genes worlds (which, apart from Gnarssh, all have an intrinsic value of 2VP).
*unless we use NMT. But that'd cost more. And is it allowed? And if so, how many times are we allowed to use it?


Long story short, we have:
Imperium Lords
Former Penal Colony
Rebel Underground

And 3 from:
Aquatic Uplift
Reptilian Uplift
Hive World
Rebel Warrior Race
Malevolent Lifeforms (if have RWR)
Rebel Colony (if have RWR)


Update: Brian has replied that using NMT *is* allowed with unlimited copies. But this will of course cost more. If cost is not a concern, then to maximise VPs we have

Imperium Lords
Rebel Outpost (using NMT)
Rebel Warrior Race
Rebel Underground
Rebel Base (using NMT)
Rebel Homeworld (using NMT)
 
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brianstock wrote:
Yes...I've already admitted that actually it's a pretty good hand. The original puzzle I had in mind was much harder, so I'm starting with an easier one to warm up. But the puzzle is to go for a high score in the tableau.

Hmm, your original post looks like it meant "Minimise Cost" rather than "Maximise VP".

Alternative solution to mumu shanshi's, with same VP outcome and same number of uses of NMT:
1) NMT -> Rebel Outpost
2) NMT -> Lost Alien Battle Fleet
3, 4) Rebel Underground + Rebel Base
5) NMT -> Rebel Homeworld
6) Imperium Lords
 
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