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Subject: Attacking/Defending without using a Tech card rss

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Tumbling Hippo
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Tried out the PnP version, and we had a question on the rules involving using technology cards when attacking/defending.

In the game my opponent only focused on martial, and ended up getting most of the bases, and technology tiers that gave him both the ranged and power bonuses. Every time he'd attack or subvert, he clearly would win.

In that case, do you still have to play a tech card when attacking/defending? What if you have no more tech cards, can you still attack?

He basically could attack with 20 points of martial power each time and would always win. I was worried this would be crazily unbalanced due to my own fault letting him have that advantage, but I ended up winning by a single point because I still spread out using industrial power (we were matched in political in the 2 player game).
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Oliver Kiley
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Sounds like an interesting session. One of the things that I like about the game is having a lot of power (like your martial focused opponent) doesn't mean they are going to win

If they focus on takeing over your bases (complexes for instance) you can often re-take them back easily (since they won't have a lot of industrial power built up) and continue building at the same time - using the Industrialize card for instance.

Back to your question:

(1) You always have to play a tech card when attacking + defending

(2) Remember, tech cards played in conflicts are placed in that players "inactive" technology card pile (or they can be discarded and another card is drawn + placed in the inactive pile instead). ALL the cards in a player's inactive pile are returned to their hand at Arbitration OR when they run out of all 5 cards OR if they use the research action.

In otherwords, you'll never not have a card to play.
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Tumbling Hippo
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Thanks, that does really clarify it, as while the rulebook did say you play a card it didn't say you must play a card. Or I could have missed that.

I wonder if there is a way to get martial power back in that case, but a lot of it was my fault in the first place, putting martial so close to where he could easily build there.
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Oliver Kiley
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This is diverging more into strategy ... but ...

In a two player game, it can be hard to knock down a player with a large power advantage (could be martial, political, or industrial). The response, as it appears you did, was essentially try to ignore their attack and focus on grabbing other base type locations in areas that net you more points for scoring. If they spend all their effort attacking you with their big powerful thing, they can't also be expanding everywhere, not enough money or actions to do so.

In a 3+ player game, there is a lot more opportunity for collaboration in keeping everyone's respective powers more in balance. A player gaining a huge power lead in something quickly becomes the biggest threat and the biggest target. And 3 or 4 successive attacks on someone's martial system (for instance attacking weaker outpost's on the fringe) can quickly cut down their power.

I've found in most 2-player games that the tile placement is hugely important. It's just as vital to deny your opponent an key tile or location (e.g. don't let them place a 3-outpost tile in the core galaxy board) as it is to take a strong tile for yourself.

And also the need to be flexible, particularly in a 2-player game, is pretty high. If you diversify your development across the three base types, your are more effecient from CAP flow standpoint, it stays relatively cheaper to build bases + increase CAP flow versus maxing out one base type where the last few bases get really expensive. You might not have as much maximum power, but you have a lot more options to expand and develop your economy; which feeds directly into scoring if you can time it all correctly.
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