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Subject: First play. rss

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Lee Benson
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I received this game a couple of weeks ago and have been itching to play it since I opened it. When I opened the box, I loved the card design. It has great illustrations and nice components. I read through the rules and was just confused as could be. I re-read the rules and tried playing a dummy game, and I got a few more things, but it still wasn't gelling. I ended up finding a review/how-to-play video by user Kohatsu. Everything made a lot more sense after watching the video.

About a week passed before I was able to sit down and play. I sat down with three friends and did my best to remember and explain the rules. I think I did alright because I wasn't getting a lot of confused faces. It took only a couple of hands before we got into a comfortable rhythm and people were Following/Dissenting and developing strategies and the game moved along at a brisk pace.

D went the Survey/Colonization route and actually ended up with a number of planets that never got colonized.

C went mainly Warfare and Production/Trade.

O went the Research route and grabbed some nice cards that gave him Influence tokens nearly every turn.

I started out with Colonization, but my second colonized planet gave me a warfare boost, so I went that route on all further planets, combined with Production/Trade. I tried getting into Research (and using its Action to cull some Colonize cards from my hand), but realized that with four people, the game would be over much too soon to gain enough Research cards. In a 2- or 3-player game, I think it would be a valuable strategy, but it just didn't work for me here.

D ended up winning mainly due to the large number of planets he colonized. Other players weren't able to make up the difference with traded resources. I came in dead last, mainly due to my attempts to research.

Everybody seemed to really enjoy the game. I feel like it has some fairly deep and interesting strategy, but by the time some of us had enough cards to make that strategy count, the game was over. There's also a decent amount of player interaction. Players were deciding their roles not only based on what they needed, but based on trying to slow others' progress.

I look forward to playing it more, especially with 2 or 3 people.
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Dave P
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I've played this now quite a bit (which for me means 5+ times).

It seems like the only way to stay competitive (and potentially win) is to colonize/conquer planets.

That's not to say you ignore other areas since you generally need them to help win, but if you ignore planets as your session describes, you will lose.

I've yet to see a game where NOT focusing a good bit on planets has won the game. Planets simply have too much VP value for the other avenues to match or beat.

I personally love to grab the tech that gives you some VP each time you play it - but that has only helped in close games (it has never won me the game without planets.)

-Dave


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Trevor Schadt
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tivowatcher wrote:
I personally love to grab the tech that gives you some VP each time you play it - but that has only helped in close games (it has never won me the game without planets.)
I don't think I'm familiar with that tech... could you elaborate?
 
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Lee Benson
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tivowatcher wrote:
I've yet to see a game where NOT focusing a good bit on planets has won the game. Planets simply have too much VP value for the other avenues to match or beat.


Thanks Dave. I definitely knew that settling planets was a necessity, and I did my fair share, but I didn't realize the extent that needed to be done.
 
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Lee Benson
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At first, collecting 1 Influence on your turn sounds grand, but I think in the long-run, if it's keeping you from playing other more powerful actions, it's not the best strategy. The card is handy because it can be used to boost a colonize or trade role, but using it to grab an influence token could easily be your weakest action.
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Seth Jaffee
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Zepheus wrote:
tivowatcher wrote:
I've yet to see a game where NOT focusing a good bit on planets has won the game. Planets simply have too much VP value for the other avenues to match or beat.


Thanks Dave. I definitely knew that settling planets was a necessity, and I did my fair share, but I didn't realize the extent that needed to be done.

While it's true that you do need to settle or attack at least a couple of planets, I do not think it's true that you only win if you continue to settle/attack! Once you get to 3 or 4 resource slots, produce/trade cycles are more efficient than Survey/Colonize/Settle or Survey/Warfare/Attack cycles - especially true if you get a tech card to increase your rewards for trading!

Doing high level research can also be very lucrative.
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Aaron
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Zepheus wrote:
I started out with Colonization, but my second colonized planet gave me a warfare boost, so I went that route on all further planets, combined with Production/Trade. I tried getting into Research (and using its Action to cull some Colonize cards from my hand), but realized that with four people, the game would be over much too soon to gain enough Research cards. In a 2- or 3-player game, I think it would be a valuable strategy, but it just didn't work for me here.


Every time I have started down the Colonization route and decided to switch to Warfare (or vice versa) for whatever reason, I lose my momentum and can't catch back up to the other players.

I haven't played with four yet but I can't see myself playing without buying Technology. Without truly exceptional bad luck, you'll have a face up planet on your second turn and can take your first Technology card on your third turn. With some luck and/or judicious use of Politics one might even be able to take a Technology card on turn two.

tivowatcher wrote:
I personally love to grab the tech that gives you some VP each time you play it - but that has only helped in close games (it has never won me the game without planets.)

I've taken to avoiding Improved Trade. There is generally always something else I would rather be doing, so even if I take them I never used them.
 
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Lee Benson
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sedjtroll wrote:
While it's true that you do need to settle or attack at least a couple of planets, I do not think it's true that you only win if you continue to settle/attack! Once you get to 3 or 4 resource slots, produce/trade cycles are more efficient than Survey/Colonize/Settle or Survey/Warfare/Attack cycles - especially true if you get a tech card to increase your rewards for trading!

Doing high level research can also be very lucrative.


I'm excited to hear that there's a chance for deep strategy as opposed to just hammering the same thing every time. I look forward to trying some strategies out!
 
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Trevor Schadt
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Duh! I'd actually forgotten about that -- been too long since I played, I suppose.
 
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sedjtroll wrote:

While it's true that you do need to settle or attack at least a couple of planets, I do not think it's true that you only win if you continue to settle/attack! Once you get to 3 or 4 resource slots, produce/trade cycles are more efficient than Survey/Colonize/Settle or Survey/Warfare/Attack cycles - especially true if you get a tech card to increase your rewards for trading!


This is true -- Produce/Trade is difficult for new players because it requires you to stop and start gaining and using Produce/Trade cards. Further, it's easier if you've followed roles and have smaller deck (both things which are harder for new players).

Greyweather wrote:
Every time I have started down the Colonization route and decided to switch to Warfare (or vice versa) for whatever reason, I lose my momentum and can't catch back up to the other players.


In general, you lose momentum from switching roles due to having amassed other role cards. Produce/Trade is nice in that you can be productive with only 2-3 symbols, so switching to it is easier, especially if your researched cards have produce or trade symbols. I would not recommend switching from warfare to colonize or colonize to warfare, except maybe very early in the game. Even doing both at the same time is tricky and requires experience.
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Greyweather wrote:

tivowatcher wrote:
I personally love to grab the tech that gives you some VP each time you play it - but that has only helped in close games (it has never won me the game without planets.)

I've taken to avoiding Improved Trade. There is generally always something else I would rather be doing, so even if I take them I never used them.


Giving up your action to use Improved Trade also takes experience to handle. I have seen it before but haven't tried it myself. I think it could work out in general, as long as you keep that in mind when playing.
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Aaron
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sedjtroll wrote:
Zepheus wrote:
tivowatcher wrote:
I've yet to see a game where NOT focusing a good bit on planets has won the game. Planets simply have too much VP value for the other avenues to match or beat.


Thanks Dave. I definitely knew that settling planets was a necessity, and I did my fair share, but I didn't realize the extent that needed to be done.

While it's true that you do need to settle or attack at least a couple of planets, I do not think it's true that you only win if you continue to settle/attack! Once you get to 3 or 4 resource slots, produce/trade cycles are more efficient than Survey/Colonize/Settle or Survey/Warfare/Attack cycles - especially true if you get a tech card to increase your rewards for trading!

Doing high level research can also be very lucrative.


I finally got to try this out today. I decided from the get-go that I was going to focus on trade and it worked really well. And it was just like Seth said, once I had that fifth resource slot I didn't need more planets. The game ended with me over ten ahead with six planets and only four level one technology cards. If I had managed to get Diverse Markets or Genetic Engineering it would have been a bloodbath.
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Lee Benson
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Greyweather wrote:
The game ended with me over ten ahead with six planets and only four level one technology cards. If I had managed to get Diverse Markets or Genetic Engineering it would have been a bloodbath.


That's interesting to know. How many planets had your opponent(s) settled (for comparison)?
 
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Aaron
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Eight or so? I'm not certain. Neither of my opponents took Survey Team so I was able to collect almost all my planets just by following their Survey roles. Three of my four tech cards had Survey icons so it was doable even if it meant I could only look at one planet by following with a pair.

None of our decks were especially efficient. My opponents were playing their second game and I was trying an approach I had not tested before.

I think I'll try a Trade/Warfare approach next time and see how that works out, as opposed to the Colonize/Trade one I tried this last time.
 
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