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Eclipse: Pulsar» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Pulsar - underwhelming at first glance rss

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Jon Day
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Lee
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Hi,

In both games where I drew one (or both) Pulsars I have been underwhelmed with them. there is only 1 resource on each tile and 1VP and the flexibility of the actions is limited as are the actions themselves.

I'm not really seeing an upside as the actions are not really free (the resource is) because you still have to place a disk but one resource does not equal the difference between a full action and a reaction action in my opinion, especially as you only have 2 to chose from each round which may not be the one you need.

At this stage I don't think that I would place one in a game unless I REALLY needed that one resource.

Any thoughts?
 
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Klaus
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The Pulsar hexes open up some possibilities, but they aren't exceedingly strong. I think they fit in pretty well as an Outer Sector hex - better than a single planet hex, but generally worse than a two planet one. I'd take them early on, but I'd probably abandon them when I have better hexes available. Most Outer Sector hexes only become better when you've researched an advanced planet technology.

I think they're exactly right for a promo - they introduce an interesting experimental twist to the game, but they don't upset the game balance.

In that way, they're certainly a much bigger success than Supernova. I can't see people removing the Pulsar hexes from the game again because their mechanic is broken.
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Petri Savola
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Hannibal Rex wrote:
The Pulsar hexes open up some possibilities, but they aren't exceedingly strong. I think they fit in pretty well as an Outer Sector hex - better than a single planet hex, but generally worse than a two planet one. I'd take them early on, but I'd probably abandon them when I have better hexes available. Most Outer Sector hexes only become better when you've researched an advanced planet technology.

I think they're exactly right for a promo - they introduce an interesting experimental twist to the game, but they don't upset the game balance.

In that way, they're certainly a much bigger success than Supernova. I can't see people removing the Pulsar hexes from the game again because their mechanic is broken.

Yep, Supernovas would have been better with 1 white square instead of 2. Pulsar seems more balanced and fun.
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Peter O
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There are plenty of times in a game where I only want/need a half action for movement, building, or upgrading. This hex is like a little bit of oil to allow me to do things more incrementally than the standard actions. The upgrade in particular is nice during non full blown war states. It's important to keep your ships not too far back tech wise to keep the wolves looking elsewhere. Pair with the build action and you can trickle out ships while not spending your materials too quickly. The loss on a single planet isn't a giant loss. Yes it's a loss, but more like 20% than 50%. If you then have situations that don't need a full upgrade action you are gaining.

A small side benefit is against opponents who don't pay enough attention. The action on the table needs to be taken into account when trying to out action someone during aggression. If they're used to just counting your available action showing it can throw them off.

I think the tile is a good solid tile. It's not supernova strength. I'm happy to have, but not elated.
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Jim Richardson

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ParticleMan wrote:
Compare to a simple money+sci or money+mat 2-planet 1 VP hex... I could list the pros of each:

Pulsar: Only requires 1 colonization; bankrupts without money problems; free "re"action may occasionally be better than a money colonization

2-planet hex: 1 money planet buys you more than a limited "re"action - money can be stored and is always generated (whereas the Pulsar "free" "re"action must be used each turn or wasted), normal actions paid for with money can be ANY of the 6 types, not just 2 of the 3 reaction types. If the 2-planet hex has a white planet it can be used for economy shifting (Pulsar has no white planets.)

I would almost always rather have a 2-planet hex than a Pulsar. Maybe if they had made Pulsar have white planets instead of a fixed pink & brown, it could have given them enough value to really compete with a 2-planet system.


Quoting myself from another thread there. Pretty much sums it up. Supernova was overpowered (especially with Hydran), perhaps Pulsar was nerfed because of that.
 
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Damian White
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I think Pulsar's hexes are well balanced.

Sure, each has only the one population square -- which is only a little under the average for Outer Sector hexes -- but each gives you a free action once per round. If you're not pushing for the first player pawn, that's a free (single) Move activation, Upgrade or Build. Why wouldn't you?

And I generally play against fleets of PM-heavy glass canons, so you can imagine how keen I was to add the Nova Burst Discovery to my game. devil
 
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Peter Chinkin
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DNAmers wrote:
I think Pulsar's hexes are well balanced.

Sure, each has only the one population square -- which is only a little under the average for Outer Sector hexes -- but each gives you a free action once per round. If you're not pushing for the first player pawn, that's a free (single) Move activation, Upgrade or Build. Why wouldn't you?


Because that influence disk would be better used if it wasn't on that hex at all but back on your influence track so you could use it each turn to do a full action (of your choice) instead of a (restricted) weak one.

Other outer sector hexes have discovery tiles which are at worst worth 2vps. An outer sector hex with only one population space would almost never be worth influencing without gaining a discovery tile. I normally abandon these at the end of the turn in which I explore them.

With the pulsar hexes you get a weak sector with only one population space that gives you a weak action each turn. Combined this is not really any better than keeping hold of the disk. I've been thinking about tweaking them a bit to make them a little better. One idea is to give them a second resource by simply house ruling that they come with a free orbital as well, or how about a choice (or chance) of a monolith instead?
Another idea is to allow the action to be taken after passing for a bit more flexibility.

In my next game I'm going to try one of these along with nerfing the supernovae a bit to balance. I was thinking along the lines of giving the Hydrans the traitor tile if they influence a supernova or if anyone gets both of them. I'll let you know how it goes.
 
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Klaus
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Having an influence disk on a single planet system is basically a money > science/materials trade, usually at a better exchange rate that you would have even as a human.

Which is to say, if I need a particular resource more than I need actions, I do make use even of single planet systems. The Pulsar hexes let you trade money for a half-action and extra resources. Not as flexible as a 2 planet money + science/materials system, but they're certainly not useless.

I do think they compare well to those 1 planet + 1 advanced planet sector III hexes, which are plentiful.

As for nerfing Supernova, I posted about that here. We're pretty happy with those two changes, and now include the Supernova hexes in our games.

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Peter Chinkin
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Thanks for the link to your Supernova house rules. My personal preference is for the promo tiles to be a bit better than the others to add excitement and variance. I was disappointed to find the pulsars a bit 'meh' so, while I accept that they are maybe just a bit below average, they are not so fun. I don't want to break the game but I think giving them a boost would add some enjoyment.

As for the supernovae, I don't want to go as far as you because I think the ability to mitigate the luck element is quite important. I like rolling before the upkeep phase - we did this in our last game. I like the idea of a supernova being good, but having a tradeoff so I will experiment a bit...
 
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Klaus
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In that case, you might try the house-rule that others use, which is restricting Hydrans from play when Supernovae are used. They really benefit much more from them than anyone else, especially if you keep the rule of the technology tracks adding a bonus to the dice roll.
 
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