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Race for the Galaxy: Rebel vs Imperium» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Declining your own Develop to draft her Settle rss

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Dave J McWeasely
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Worlds are generally better than developments. Often it happens that I want to build something, and my options are a so-so development and a better world.

Because my world isn't as good as the Produce/Consume-oriented settle my opponent could well play, I'll often call Develop.

But then suppose my opponent calls Settle herself, and I can only pay for 1 new tableau card. All of a sudden it is often better for me to walk away from my own call of Develop, and instead use the Settle. The difference in cost is often smaller than the utility of getting a more potent world. Many players (read: me) will doggedly stick to their original plan, citing the value of the discount, but often that's penny wise and pound foolish.
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Chris Linneman
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This is a good tip, but usually I prefer to have enough cards to both Develop and Settle in a given turn if I have worthwhile develop+world. In your case I might call Explore +1/+1 and draft whichever phase she chooses (or both, if possible due to the extra card). That way, you don't potentially give her a free develop phase where you get nothing.
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Derry Salewski
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Yeah. If you don't have a good idea what she'll be calling, you could end up helping her more with the develop. And if you have both a world and a develop, explore is what I'd probably end up doing, like Chris suggests!

But also, if your world is better, why aren't YOU settling it?

 
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James Carlton
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I need a cold shower... this thread title just sounded kinky to me.. blush
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Chris Linneman
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scifiantihero wrote:

But also, if your world is better, why aren't YOU settling it?



He is referring to times when, as is often the case, you'd rather play your world than your development, but don't call Settle because it is quite likely your opponent has an even stronger world to play and you don't want to risk her making a strong leech. This is usually the case when you are not building toward a produce-consume engine but your opponent could be.
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Dave J McWeasely
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QBert80 wrote:
This is a good tip, but usually I prefer to have enough cards to both Develop and Settle in a given turn if I have worthwhile develop+world. In your case I might call Explore +1/+1 and draft whichever phase she chooses (or both, if possible due to the extra card). That way, you don't potentially give her a free develop phase where you get nothing.


Yes in theory.

But "stuff happens". Going into a turn with 6 cards to my opponent's 3, should I really be picking E+1+1? Or should I be pressing them and forcing /them/ to call E+1+1? But sometimes they have something awesome to settle, even with their puny 3 cards, like Gem World as the keystone to their Diversified Economy engine.
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Michael Brough
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This is a special case of something more general: Settle phases are more expensive than Develop phases.

Worlds are better than Developments.

You can see this by just comparing some that are similar.
* Genetics Lab vs. Engineers. They're both 2/1, and have the exact same powers - except the engineers work for any colour. (Genetics Lab does have bonus scoring on GGP, and 1 more on TL.)
* Interstellar Bank vs. Developers. Again both 2/1; Developers has a consume power. (Note that Developers is often a fairly weak build, whereas Bank is awesome.)
* Colony Ship vs. Doomed World. DW costs only 1, and has an Explore power as well as the exact same Settle power. Scoring is not relevant, because you're not keeping it.
* Tourist World vs. Mining League / Galactic Genome Project. The 6-devs have a higher price and a more restricted consume power. They do have special scoring though, so it's not as clear a comparison.

Another example, for me, is Psi-Crystal world; I'd tried out this same power on a 6-dev with the TGS blanks, and it seemed overpowered. I haven't played with BOW yet, but just looking at the card it feels less broken on a 5 cost world than it did on a 6 cost development - I think they've gotten it right.

The discounts work differently

- The bonus for the Develop action (-1 cost) is better than the bonus for the Settle action (draw 1 after settling); the advantage being that you don't have to have the extra card in your hand, or you can keep one of your selected cards rather than a random one from the deck. (Compare Investment Credits to Public Works; they put an extra power on it because the II power is marginally worse.)

- More importantly, there are a lot more discounts available in the deck for the Develop phase, and they're more expensive. Compare Terraforming Robots to Public Works (and Investment Credits, Interstellar Bank - the best II power has no III equivalent).

How much more expensive?

- More than 1 card; I'd often rather develop even when they have Bank or Developers.
- Potentially several cards, if they pull off a blind Trade.
- Potentially several VPs, if they place a production world and Produce/Consume a few times later.

(Something else that would be interesting to try to quantify: how do prices scale in terms of 'actual cost'. It's more than linear, because of the hand limit, but how much more?)

So yeah, it's definitely sometimes worth missing a Develop phase to Settle instead when it wasn't worth the risk of Settling yourself. (Especially if you did Explore, and found a world worth changing your plans for.)
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Serge Levert
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smestorp wrote:
(Something else that would be interesting to try to quantify: how do prices scale in terms of 'actual cost'. It's more than linear, because of the hand limit, but how much more?)

I don't follow. Can you reword what you mean by "actual cost"?
 
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Rob Neuhaus
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I think smestorp's point about nominal cost vs 'actual cost' is something like this.

Imagine 2 hypothetical 4 cost worlds vs a 9 cost world. Assume you have a 10 cards in hand. If you have some way of generating card flow (eg, a pending trade, or a draw on produce), you could build the one of the 4 cost worlds, while still maintaining the best 5 cards in your hand of 10. You could then, on another settle, build the other 4 cost world. In total, the pair of 4 cost worlds costed you 10 cards, but your hand quality did not suffer dramatically, assuming you had card flow. On the other hand, if you built the 9 cost world, that cost you your entire hand, if that was drafted over a few turns (or an explore + 5, say), you potentially lost a lot of quality. In some sense, that 9 cost world was way more costly than those 2 4 cost worlds, even they they subtracted the same number of cards from your hand.

However, the two 4 cost worlds have another "hidden" cost that the 9 cost world does not, in the absence of a card like improved logistics, they require two settle actions.

I am sure there is no simple way to calculate the cost "non-linearity" in general, since it depends on the opportunity cost of losing what is in your hand. However, I certainly agree that the closer it gets to requiring you to throw out your entire hand, the higher and higher the cost becomes.
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Michael Brough
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Yeah; discarding your entire hand is more than twice as bad as discarding the bottom half. And then there's an extra advantage to using two actions instead of 1 - any discounts apply twice. It's all very situational; part of the reason this game is so deep.
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Michael Brough
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Maybe it would be useful to just treat price as fractions of your maximum total wealth. Bank costs 1/5, Terraformed World costs 1/2, and ALIEN Departure Point costs 9/10 of your maximum wealth.

Under this formalism, Pan-Galactic Research becomes a 1/6 discount to everything. (Which is never as good as a -2 discount; that takes 2/9 off the prices of a 9-cost build, and a greater proportion off smaller things. Even a -1 discount is better for prices
 
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Yee Keat Phuah
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Hmm, we have always played it that if I am the one that called Develop I must develop! Just checked the rules again and there's no "MUST", thanks for the thread!
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