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Space Empires: 4X» Forums » Variants

Subject: tweaking MS pipelines and terraforming rss

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Jason Cawley
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First some background on why I see a place for this game tweak.

My partner and I have both noticed that MS pipelines are almost always a "must buy", while we never find ourselves buying terraforming technology in 2 player games.

Consider the investments, return, and break even period. We require some assumptions about MS pipelines typically required, but I notice that 12 can usually do the trick, sometimes a little more.

12 pipelines cost 36 resources and if bought at the right times and locations can be producing their share of 8 resources the econ phase after they are bought. That is 4.5 econ phases to break even and an eventual return of 22%.

Terraforming tech plus one colony ship for the home space barren world costs 33 resources. The turn after they are bought they will produce nothing, then 1, 3, and 5 thereafter. That is 8 econ phases to break even and an eventual return of 15%. This does improve to 5.3 econ phases to break even and an eventual 30% return if 2 barren planets are immediately settled and kept - but terraforming never pays compared to MS pipelines even in pure economic terms otherwise. And it still takes longer. And confers no movement benefits.

The tweak we have come up with reduces the incomes from MS pipelines early, while allowing it to remain at the existing-rule levels longer term. It raises the return of terraforming tech, and provides an incentive to get it earlier rather than later.

The tweak is simply this -

(1) MS pipelines only produce their +1 income for an attached colony if that colony is a "5". Smaller, young colonies do not produce trade income.

(2) Terraforming technology produces +1 extra income from all "1" planets, both normals and barrens. (It makes it easier to settle the planet quickly, is the idea).

So, if you want more income from mature colonies, run merchant ships out to them. If you want a marginally faster ramp, terraforming tech can provide it. (Or otherwise put, young normal worlds can repay part of the expense of terraforming tech).

FWIW...
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I agree that I think Terraforming is very expensive for the return. I wonder if terraforming maybe should give you two advantages rather than 1.

1. You can colonize a baron planet.

2. When you colonize a non baron planet it produces 5 CP right away, in other words you skip the 1 and 3 the first time you grow it. Heck, isn't that what teraforming does, make planets more productive and livable?

BOb
 
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Mark Buetow
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A general observation and only general because I haven't played enough to see if it's mostly true- it seems like terraforming tech may not be as big a deal in a two player game because contact is going to be made more quickly and the issue decided sooner. In a three or four player game, terraforming may be more important as you find you need ways to gain an economic edge over your opponents by taking the deep space resources.

I wouldn't play with those tweaks but knock yourselves out.
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Chris Dieckmann
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I played a game today where i took terraforming very early after colonizing 3 planets in the first economic phase. and i agree that its a bit over priced for its return on investment even with a 4 player game
 
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Mark Buetow
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Chrisxny wrote:
I played a game today where i took terraforming very early after colonizing 3 planets in the first economic phase. and i agree that its a bit over priced for its return on investment even with a 4 player game


Would it really be worth it until you've at least colonized all your habitable home space planets? It seems it's a tech more necessary when your home space is already maxed out.
 
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Jonathan Davis
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Terraforming also lets you establish forward bases in deep space, if necessary. It's not just the economics: You can start throwing up ship yards closer to your opponents home planet.

Of course Pipelines can also aid you in rushing troops to the front.

Also building 12 MS pipelines takes 12 SY points. Building a colony ship to terraform takes one SY point. If you're doing the Pipeline strategy, you are either building a lot of additional SY to handle the need, or seriously delaying producing of other vessels.

In our last 3 player game, I had my own barren planet in home area, then there was a barren planet in the 2 space pocket behind my home area, then a belt of 3 barren planets between myself and nearest opponent.

Grabbing terraforming first meant I picked up an extra 5 colonies compared to the other two players.
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Alex Ringgaard
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Another general observation as I'm also still waiting for my game to arrive: I would think that the value of terraforming is not in the CP it generates, that is merely a small side effect, but in the great logistical advantage a forward base gives you.
 
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Jon and Alex, you make good points. Colonies, like Pipelines, have a value beyond CP generated.

The game is slanted toward building both Pipelines and Terraforming. However, I didn't want them to be a completely "no brainer" decision. If you are telling me that you don't *always* want to Terraform, then that's a good thing.
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Jason Cawley
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Jim - I am telling you that I *never* want to buy terraforming, and I want to build MS pipelines for both economics and movement unless the enemy is marauding through my home space and will just kill them.

8 plus turns just to break even is a non starter, in my opinion.

I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.
 
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Mark Buetow
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JasonC wrote:
Jim - I am telling you that I *never* want to buy terraforming, and I want to build MS pipelines for both economics and movement unless the enemy is marauding through my home space and will just kill them.


I'm going to laugh when you write a session report about how the guy with terraforming killed you. laugh
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Jim Krohn
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Well, if you also do MS Pipelines, the extra pipeline income knocks it down a turn and that is still only with one barren planet.

Multi-player games are a little more complicated, but two player games, on something larger than a small map, usually involve settling opportunities outside of your home system. That is where terraforming can really pay off.
 
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Jim Krohn
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BTW, I do think that your tweaks are interesting.
 
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Of course, I also played 2p with small map... so terraforming was not worth it. But, with the normal or big map or 4 player it might be a better idea for the two reasons stated above.

BOb
 
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David Debien
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JasonC wrote:
Jim - I am telling you that I *never* want to buy terraforming, and I want to build MS pipelines for both economics and movement unless the enemy is marauding through my home space and will just kill them.

8 plus turns just to break even is a non starter, in my opinion.

I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.


On a larger map, with say 4 barren worlds to settle, the economic gains will outstrip the cost pretty quickly. And, again, that is only looking at the economic advantage of a Colony and not the strategic and tactical advantages that come with forward colony worlds.
 
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Jonathan Davis
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JasonC wrote:
I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.


Do you play with the normal 'no instant tech upgrades' rule?

That gives a serious advantage to defenders. The farther away your shipyards are to their colonies, the bigger that advantage is.

If your position is "I would never do terraforming in a small 2 player game" then sure. But I think terraforming is generally extremely useful in larger games.

It would also seem to me that if you're in a game where you are close enough for a forward base to be unnecessary, your opponent is certainly close enough to be disrupting your MS pipelines.
 
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David Debien
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davisjh wrote:
JasonC wrote:
I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.


Do you play with the normal 'no instant tech upgrades' rule?

That gives a serious advantage to defenders. The farther away your shipyards are to their colonies, the bigger that advantage is.

If your position is "I would never do terraforming in a small 2 player game" then sure. But I think terraforming is generally extremely useful in larger games.

It would also seem to me that if you're in a game where you are close enough for a forward base to be unnecessary, your opponent is certainly close enough to be disrupting your MS pipelines.


Want to point out that a single forward Shipyard to do your ship upgrades can be an enormous tactical advantage.
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David Jackman
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pilotbob wrote:


1. You can colonize a baron planet.



I dont think I would want to colonize Geidi Prime, personally.
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casualgod wrote:
davisjh wrote:
JasonC wrote:
I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.


Do you play with the normal 'no instant tech upgrades' rule?

That gives a serious advantage to defenders. The farther away your shipyards are to their colonies, the bigger that advantage is.

If your position is "I would never do terraforming in a small 2 player game" then sure. But I think terraforming is generally extremely useful in larger games.

It would also seem to me that if you're in a game where you are close enough for a forward base to be unnecessary, your opponent is certainly close enough to be disrupting your MS pipelines.


Want to point out that a single forward Shipyard to do your ship upgrades can be an enormous tactical advantage.


Perhaps I have been very lucky but I have always had colonies on the outskirts of my home system (area?).

BOb
 
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David Debien
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pilotbob wrote:
casualgod wrote:
davisjh wrote:
JasonC wrote:
I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.


Do you play with the normal 'no instant tech upgrades' rule?

That gives a serious advantage to defenders. The farther away your shipyards are to their colonies, the bigger that advantage is.

If your position is "I would never do terraforming in a small 2 player game" then sure. But I think terraforming is generally extremely useful in larger games.

It would also seem to me that if you're in a game where you are close enough for a forward base to be unnecessary, your opponent is certainly close enough to be disrupting your MS pipelines.


Want to point out that a single forward Shipyard to do your ship upgrades can be an enormous tactical advantage.


Perhaps I have been very lucky but I have always had colonies on the outskirts of my home system (area?).

BOb


Not sure how lucky I would consider that. The few multiplayers I have been in, 7 of my 8 colonies have been in a block around my homeworld. Makes MS Pipelines very cheap and effective. The 1 lone colony has usually been on a flank. Now that I think about it, it would have been nice if it had been more in the front middle section to place a nice base/ship yard combo for upgrading.
 
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casualgod wrote:
pilotbob wrote:
casualgod wrote:
davisjh wrote:
JasonC wrote:
I get the "forward base" points others are making, but I'd much rather have a full CV group or battleships or movement 4 technology. If I need a planet near enemy space, his own ordinary planets look like two-fers to me.


Do you play with the normal 'no instant tech upgrades' rule?

That gives a serious advantage to defenders. The farther away your shipyards are to their colonies, the bigger that advantage is.

If your position is "I would never do terraforming in a small 2 player game" then sure. But I think terraforming is generally extremely useful in larger games.

It would also seem to me that if you're in a game where you are close enough for a forward base to be unnecessary, your opponent is certainly close enough to be disrupting your MS pipelines.


Want to point out that a single forward Shipyard to do your ship upgrades can be an enormous tactical advantage.


Perhaps I have been very lucky but I have always had colonies on the outskirts of my home system (area?).

BOb


Not sure how lucky I would consider that. The few multiplayers I have been in, 7 of my 8 colonies have been in a block around my homeworld. Makes MS Pipelines very cheap and effective. The 1 lone colony has usually been on a flank. Now that I think about it, it would have been nice if it had been more in the front middle section to place a nice base/ship yard combo for upgrading.


Right, when I said "colonies" I didn't mean all of them. The game I played last night the standard 4p setup I had 5 colonies on the long edge of the board, two on the left edge closest to the player opposite me and two on the right edge closest to the player on my right. So, I had a pretty good planet setup, I thought.

Of course, I realized I needed more money and I had two barren planets within 3 hexes of one of my shipyards so I did buy terraforming. However, it was to late to be usefull as the game ended two Eco's after I colonized them.

BOb
 
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Bob Jones
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Hello,
The way that we are dealing with the mp issue is to run a pipeline to asteroid fields for 2 production points each. I just hated the idea of unexploited asteroid fields!
I have, so far, purchased terraforming in the mid game. It is more than simply making the original investment back, it is about replacing losses in the end game. Space Empires is a blast!

Dabob
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