With a lot of moving parts, this game can be daunting for new players to come up with a strategic approach to the game. With about a dozen games under my belt, and since many out there seem curious about this game, I thought I would post some strategy advice by focusing on the one piece of information that every player will have at the start, namely one’s starting Company Goal card. Thus, these strategy tips are organized in that fashion (by Company Goal card). Keep in mind I have played primarily three, four and five player games but as of yet no solitaire games and no games with any variants or the Arctic Expansion. So, here goes (comments, criticisms and additional suggestions are certainly welcome) …
#27 (points based on control of regions): I find this card to be more difficult to accomplish a high score (in terms of number of bonus points) as number of players goes up. It requires a focused effort concentrating in at most four regions of the board, in most cases you will probably focus on just two or three unless you have just two or three players. You will need to develop expertise in multiple technologies and, since the goal requires you to be actively building plants, you should be taking actions and lobby cards that allow you to build up cash as well as a healthy stock of tech cubes. An ancillary strategy might be to focus on regions with higher populations to (hopefully) add the CEPs from those region at game-end to score more victory points. And, since you hope to construct a variety of different types of plants, you should be looking at the UN goal cards as another source of VPs as well, in part just to deny them to other players.
#28 (points based on power plants in different regions): This is exactly the opposite of goal card #27, in that you want to spread out with power plants in as many different regions as possible (up to five, the maximum on the cards). Unfortunately, focusing on this goal means you probably won’t be in control of many regions at game-end. Focusing on different technologies is important with this goal card, as you will probably need to score some points in other areas (high income on the expertise track, UN goal cards, etc.) to remain competitive since your endgame score from income from CEPs in hand is likely to be fairly low. To this end, it is advisable to sell CEPs to keep the price low, particularly as the game nears the end, to minimize your possible deficit in this endgame scoring category. In installing projects, you will need to focus on obtaining the necessary cubes and money to build those plants over the course of the game to satisfy the conditions of this company goal. Keep in mind this card is removed if playing with two players, as it is simply too easy to accomplish in a game where you have five action rounds per decade.
#29 (bonus points for each UN goal card): The strategy here is fairly straightforward, you want to develop expertise in a variety of energy sources and build at least four and possibly all five types of “green” plants to maximize your ability to obtain those goal cards. Tech cubes and money are important assets, but you might consider getting multiple scientists into play early to move up on expertise tracks as well, keeping in mind that the tech cube and expertise requirements get tougher once two plants of each type have been built. However, unlike the player holding goal card #27 or #28, you are less concerned as to the location of the power plants, which gives you a bit more flexibility to respond to different situations that may arise as the game develops. You will also need to remember that each time you are able to acquire a UN goal card, you will need to have a tech cube as well as not being able to play a Lobby card in that action round.
#30 (points for power plants built, not counting the first one): This goal card is available only in games with four and five players, and in some ways it is a bit more difficult to achieve than #28 as you will need to get one additional plant down (six instead of five) to gain the maximum points). Developing expertise in at least three energy types would seem to be almost mandatory, and you probably want to be in position to be a “claim jumper” by taking over projects that have been installed in those specific energy types. You should be prepared though, with a Plan B, in case those opportunities do not arise, by earning VPs in other areas, i.e., collecting CEPs, taking more points from income, and also challenging for UN goal cards which could undercut the efforts of players holding cards #28 and #29.
#31 (points for CEPs in hand at game end, before collecting CEPs from controlled regions): This is perhaps the one most unique goal card, as it has nothing to do with actually building power plants. Consequently, it is also the most obvious one for the other players to figure out as you begin to horde a large stack of those purple disks. My recommendation is to go slowly, buying at the market only if the price is low but also to focus on energy types like Forestation, Biomass and Recyling. You should try to maintain control of at least one region with a sizable stack of purple cubes from which you can pay for install actions (instead of paying out of hand). Taking this approach will mean you will likely score fewer points for building Power Plants, but this should be offset by maximizing one’s company goal (possibly the easiest 16 points available in the entire game, if you plan it correctly) supplemented by a sizable cash-in at the end of the game. Generally, holding this goal card means you want to see the price of CEPs as high as possible, and you are taking actions that will cause CEPs to be taken from the market (project installs, buy actions and also moves to specific locations on the expertise tracks that will do so). Generally, you will be looking at doing Forestation projects sooner than the other players for these reasons.
#32 (points for being first or tied for first on the Expertise track): This Company Goal requires a focused effort, except perhaps in a 2-player game where you have lots of actions and have a good chance of advancing to a strong position on four of the five tracks. In games with more players, the likely points from this Goal card diminishes. To achieve high points, a Scientist strategy is called for, bringing on new Scientists as soon as possible, using free and extra Scientist moves, going to Summits, anything to advance on those tracks, particularly ones whose bonus actions involve advancing on another track. Remembering that being tied for first also counts, and of course getting to the end of a track is a guaranteed four points with this card. You should still pay attention to the other aspects of the game, in particular building plants and denying things like UN goal cards to other players, but Scientists are the key to scoring well with this goal card.
#33 (points for different energy types built): Not used with two-players, the advice here is similar to that for the UN goal card (#29) in that you are looking to get expertise in a variety of types that will enable you to build plants, plus collecting the cubes and money to build them. You will no doubt find yourself competing with players holding Goal cards #28, #30 and possibly also #32 in addition to being in direct competition with the player holding #29. However, at the same time, cooperating with any of these players to gain expertise at early summits can be helpful in setting yourself up to put yourself in position to build plants using those various energy types.
Finally, an overview that this is meant to be a general overall guide, but the tactical situation in each game may dictate deviations from the above overall strategic considerations from time to time, perhaps sometimes to the point of going back to scratch with a “Plan B.” You also will need to keep a close eye on which regions need “green” power plants to avoid the “all players lose” scenario which, unfortunately, happened to me for the first time in my most recent game, a five-player, which is the most challenging.
2010 - Vinhos, 2012 - CO2, 2014 - kanban, 2015 - The Gallerist, 2016 - Vinhos Deluxe, 2017 - Lisboa, 2018 - Escape Plan, CO2 Second Chance and Dragon Keepers - Maybe: 2019 - ROTW Portugal and On Mars, 2020 - Kanban Deluxe Edition
Great writing. Well done. I really like the way you see the game strategies, and I do agree in all of your strategic decisions. You really need to focus in those pooints during play if you want to maximize those 15/16 points goal. It's not an easy task to do, well at least for me, because I tend to lose focus and go with the flow. That is why I lose this game a lot.
Good players usually follow one of your described strategies since the beginning. That is why they also should make a draft of the lobby cards. It is really important if you have a table with players with at least one game.
I also agree that card 27 is the most dificult to achieved the full score, but the guy with it, should be the one with more CEPs accessible from the regions to use during the game, and the one who gets the more CEPs to his hand in the end of the game. I think this will balance that issue.
The guy with the CEPs cards is the one with the most easy goal but his strategy will be focus in the market. Making that feature much more dynamic and fun to all players in game.
Thank you for the article. Great stuff.