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Subject: How to use Contact Specialist rss

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philosophyguy
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Contact Specialist is a card that I never know how to leverage. I get what it does—-you can play military worlds even if you don't have much military power. I also get that it benefits from larger handsizes because it gives you the card flow to pay for military worlds. But I don't understand the bigger picture of what makes it worth playing. Is the point to cheaply settle military windfalls and trade to net increase your handsize, or is it stronger when playing for high value, high cost military worlds?
 
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Pete Goch
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You can think of it as an adjunct to any non-military based settle strategy. Imagine the flexibility it would give you if used in conjunction with Replicant Robots. Think about uplift and other green worlds and Pan Galactic League.

I think a more straightforward military strategy is going to be workable more often - especially considering that I'm only playing with base + gathering storm. Genes based strategies + contact specialist might be more viable with more expansions.
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Andrew
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If I'm not playing military, I'll often play it early to lift the restriction against settling military worlds. This avoids being stuck in the Settle phase with a hand of military worlds you can't play.
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Peter Bakija
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philosophyguy wrote:
Contact Specialist is a card that I never know how to leverage. I get what it does—-you can play military worlds even if you don't have much military power. I also get that it benefits from larger handsizes because it gives you the card flow to pay for military worlds. But I don't understand the bigger picture of what makes it worth playing. Is the point to cheaply settle military windfalls and trade to net increase your handsize, or is it stronger when playing for high value, high cost military worlds?
When I use it, I use it to get the cheap military windfall worlds, of which there are a lot, and they are very good to get going early if you luck into a Contact Specialist and something like Last of the Uplift Gnarsh or something and then rapidly sell the good.

I don't know that there is a lot of percentage in using it to try and buy the expensive military worlds, as they are going to cost you a lot. I mean, yeah, they are worth a lot of VPs too, but I suspect that if you aren't playing military and are using Contact Specialist, you probably have something better to do with your money than try and buy an expensive Rebel military world.
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The only penalty of Contact Specialist in the base game is the -1 to your military can keep you from settling yellow military worlds. Those will need sheer military strength to get in.

otherwise, many alr mentioned...

-it's great to get in non-yellow, low-def military worlds
-even with the non-yellow, high-def military worlds, if cardflow is no object, you now have a means to settle those military worlds. It can be frustrating to have those high REBEL military worlds and other such military worlds and not be able to touch them b/c you're 1 military str short angry
-discounts make the higher-def military worlds easier to work with
-the mega-payload, "3-hit combo" is Contact Specialist, Colony Ship, and Rebel Homeworld. CSp lets you III a military world without mili-str in the first place, CSh reduces the cost to 0, and Rebel Homeworld is the most expensive AND most pts in a single card form the base game!
-military green worlds have the best combo of being the highest-def military worlds that you can III with pfmw (pay-for-military-world) power! Yellow military worlds overall have higher def, but they're immune to CSp's power! Green worlds give you 4 cards, which go a long way towards keeping your card flow happy! You can get more cards with Trade powers specific for blue and brown worlds, but at best, that should come out even
-It pairs well with certain 6-cost devs...

--PGL gives you 3pts for Contact Specialist right there... pay 1 card for 4pts!
--It also gives you pts for military worlds (with Free Trade Association, Mining League, and a bit of a lesser extent Alien Tech institute, they're exclusively only blue, brown, and yellow worlds respectively)
--+1 card during V for each green world, of which CS also helps you settle the military green ones!



get +1 or +2pts for mili-worlds here



Cheap military worlds can help fuel these cards engines and score



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I'll usually keep a contact specialist in my hand at the start of the game.
I won't necessarily play it myself, but if my opponent calls develop it's a perfectly fine card to play, even if you don't have any military worlds in hand - there's so many you'll soon draw one.

It's useful for settle-trading your first windfall, typically a 1-2 defence green or brown world, though pirate world is also worth playing.

Other than that there are a small number of blue and brown cheap military production worlds.

I wouldn't bother with the grey rebel military worlds unless you're near the end or have a very good cardflow (or Colony ship etc.), though the 3 defence one is not bad (4 VPs).

If you're playing with the 1st expansion, Contact Specialist can very useful with Terraforming Guild (windfall strategy). That works best with either a small military or a contact specialist because a lot of windfalls are 1-3 defence military worlds.
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Alex Brown
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One of the reasons I think Takeovers are essential for competitive play is the power of Contact Specialist.

Over time I've come to think it's undercosted (should be 2). It doesn't ruin the balance of the game or anything like that, but I'd certainly argue that it's fantastic value. It's flexibility outweighs what you give up.

At least with RvI or Brink in there are a few extra ways to punish a lazy Contact Specialist. I think Pan-Galactic Mediator and CS are no-brainers from a neutral position.

 
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Alex Brown wrote:
One of the reasons I think Takeovers are essential for competitive play is the power of Contact Specialist.

Over time I've come to think it's undercosted (should be 2). It doesn't ruin the balance of the game or anything like that, but I'd certainly argue that it's fantastic value. It's flexibility outweighs what you give up.

At least with RvI or Brink in there are a few extra ways to punish a lazy Contact Specialist. I think Pan-Galactic Mediator and CS are no-brainers from a neutral position.

If we're delving into expansions, then yeah, TO are there to punish Contact Specialist players. It's quite a step in the other direction when some of the worlds you put down go towards someone else. For expensive ones, you spent a lot of wealth/cards and don't get the pts anymore. Timing is a big variable, as losing a windfall world with a good just before you trade it away can be game over right there. Some worlds that get TO-ed result in huge point swings towards/away goals and 6-cost devs. I like how in exp #3, you're never truly safe from TOs.

Also nice how cards let you use military str to settle non-mili-worlds gives you other things to do with military str, but with pfmw powers.
 
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Peter Bakija
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Alex Brown wrote:
One of the reasons I think Takeovers are essential for competitive play is the power of Contact Specialist.
I don't know that Contact Specialist is so powerful that it needs Takeovers to balance it out. I mean, yeah, Takeovers plus Contact Specialist is certainly an interesting interaction, but given that most of the time, Contact Specialist is likely used to settle cheap windfall worlds for the good to sell, that 1 or 2 of those might get Takenover isn't much of a hinderance (and occasionally, might even be a boon, as you get another slot to play a better card in).

I mean, yeah, once and a while, Contact Specialist *might* get used to play a whole lot of valuable Rebel worlds that could get conquered by an aggressive Imperium player, but you *know* that Takeovers are in effect, you can see if someone is building up an Imperium Takeover enabled tableau, and in such a situation, yeah, using Contact Specialist to get expensive Rebel worlds is probably a bad idea. But I can't imagine that it was something that happened all that often anyway, as Contact Specialist/Rebel Worlds as an overall strategy for a given game is a fairly convoluted one with protracted benefits over, like, pretty much anything else you could be doing with that money.

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Over time I've come to think it's undercosted (should be 2). It doesn't ruin the balance of the game or anything like that, but I'd certainly argue that it's fantastic value. It's flexibility outweighs what you give up.
It certainly gives you flexibility, but it is also a slot filled with a card worth 1VP (unless you are also using Pan Galactic League, at which point you are gonna play it even if you aren't using it) that might not actually ever do anything for you in a lot of situations, and most of the situations that it *does* do something for you, it is something pretty minimal (i.e. you get a cheap military windfall world and sell the good for a middling profit when you take into account that you needed to pay for the world in the first place). I mean, yeah, it certainly gives you flexibility, and there are some situations where it will certainly be worth more than others (say, a crazy Terraforming Guild/Improved Logistics/Contact Specialist engine that lucks into a lot of cheap military windfall worlds fast and ends the game really quickly), but *most* of the time, Contact Specialist will provide a modest value, at best.
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I also don't think CS is overpowered without Takeovers, but I have been accused several times recently of usually playing pacifist when Takeovers are off, so I may not be completely unbiased in my opinion I'm a big fan of all of the pacifist cards, in pretty much any format other than RvI with TOs.

edit: I guess even in RvI with TOs, being vulnerable to TOs with negative military is sufficiently rare that you don't have to worry too much about it. Just don't settle Imperial Blaster Gem Consortium!
 
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Godstar
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Doesn't Contact Specialist + Colony Ship allow you to play virtually any military card without paying it's cost, especially if you have no military to begin with? That's how I've been using it, and it's quite an effective card early on if you want to go military but don't have the ability to play the higher value cards.
 
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Michael Grankin
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Godstar wrote:
Doesn't Contact Specialist + Colony Ship allow you to play virtually any military card without paying it's cost, especially if you have no military to begin with?
Yes.

But this move is pretty overrated IMO, you lose tempo to build colony ship, and most military worlds do not synergize with peaceful tableaus so the only reason to place them is points and most of the time you can get more points via other means. I don't remember when I used that combo last time, it was long time ago.
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Tom Lehmann
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Godstar wrote:
Doesn't Contact Specialist + Colony Ship allow you to play virtually any military card
Not Alien military windfall or production worlds.
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John
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theflint wrote:

most military worlds do not synergize with peaceful tableaus
Pan-galactic league? The only time I've used that combo I put down Pan-Galactic League, Rebel Homeworld (discarding Colony Ship) and Malevolent Lifeforms. I already had a few green worlds so got a silly number of points from the round. Ok, you might not consider a tableau with lots of military worlds to be peaceful, but it was fun use of contact specialist.

Certainly agree with Colony Ship being difficult to use without losing tempo though.
 
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theflint wrote:
Godstar wrote:
Doesn't Contact Specialist + Colony Ship allow you to play virtually any military card without paying it's cost, especially if you have no military to begin with?
Yes.

But this move is pretty overrated IMO, you lose tempo to build colony ship, and most military worlds do not synergize with peaceful tableaus so the only reason to place them is points and most of the time you can get more points via other means. I don't remember when I used that combo last time, it was long time ago.
Well, if you can't find a 6-cost dev that gives you at least 6pts+ to save your life (or game for this matter), then getting 6, 7, 9, or 10pts from the highest defense Rebel military worlds can easily get you those needed pts there.

Plus, if you don't have the cards, then the discount will be worth it, as you're not building it any other way. If you use Col. Ship to get a high-cost world which provides engine (like Lost Species Ark World), that oughtta more than make up for itself. If nothing else, there's a II phase, and you can afford to build Col. Ship anyways and have nothing else to build.

Tom Lehmann wrote:
Godstar wrote:
Doesn't Contact Specialist + Colony Ship allow you to play virtually any military card
Not Alien military windfall or production worlds.
I explicitly mention that it won't work on "yellow worlds", or "worlds that can contain an alien (tech) good", even though saying "production" and "windfall" should be sufficient. Someone has already thought that it wouldn't work on Alien Booby Trap, and that's not counting any similar worlds that may be in Alien Artifacts.
 
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