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Testplay Report 24.03.2013

 
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Okim



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:58 am    Post subject: Testplay Report 24.03.2013 Reply with quote

Good day.



In this thread i`ll post a small report about one of our test games (24.03.2013). It will contain description of game setup, map generation, first 9 turns, end game and conclusions.


The game began at 4:15 PM and ended at 9:00 PM with a standard victory. The game was set up for four players with one of us being a newbie, so that`s the main reason of 5 hours of play.

In this post i`ll describe the races chosen by players and map generation with more posts following later.


Choosing races.


Each player was given two race cards from which he picked one to play with. The races for that round were:

1. Red player: Wurmis. A race of worm-like beings. They have the cheapest colonists and their troops can regenerate in battle.

2. White player: Humans. The masters of torpedo and bomb weapons. They produce fleet command points (the restriction of player`s fleet size) at greater rate, allowing them to have more ships than other players with the same empire size. The honour of playing humans was given to me.

3. Green player: Hivenids. A race of insects governed by a hive-mind (a Queen and her daughters). Hivenids are the best farmers and workers, but have problems with science.

4. Blue player: Avis. A race of bird-like creatures. They have the fastest ships that also can travel further from their colonies. In addition they get the best fighters in the game.


Map creation.

Each player was given two of each star types (red, blue, orange and white) and two deep space hexes. Starting from Wurmis and taking turns each player began to put their hexes on the map. Note that players can`t see what their hexes contain - they can judge only by star type displayed on top side of each hex.

Map generation looks similar to the same process in Twilight Empires 3. Players taking turns put one of their hexes in the proper space determined by current ring. There are 3 rings around the core system. The major differences are: full liberty of where to put hexes within the ring and no changing of player order.

Wurmis (B on the pictures) was announced to be the first player for the game (he was picked by simple dice rolling with the highest score making you the first player). After him go Humans (З symbol on pictures), Hivenids (P on pictures) and Avis (A on pictures).

Note that we played a Russian prototype and this report - is actually a translated version with all the original data remaining as is.



RING one.





The first ring consists of six hexes around the Antares (a core world). It usually contains the worst systems available in the game (red and deep space). But in this game i decided to put a white one (i`m playing Humans, white symbol 'З' on pictures).

Only 2 of 8 red stars contain planets, so these red stars have a good chance of forming a large area of empty space or asteroids.



RING two.





The most important stage of map creation because it allows players to start spoiling other player`s vicinity. This time all the players ignored that chance and concentrated on their own map sectors. I usually try to make as much damage to my neighbouring players as i can, but this time even i considered to focus on my space.

Note that i`m (humans) not putting blue stars close to me. These stars contain mineral rich planets that are hard to colonise (they require level 3 technology). I`ve chosen fast expansion and thus tried to avoid everything than could slow me down. A red system that i`ve put close to me should not contain any guardians (only 1 red system out of 8 contains one), so that should be a good way to get some powerful bonuses from exploration cards.

Hivenids also avoid blue stars, but for another reason - they have a bonus to mineral production, so they have no need in mineral rich planets. Hivenids also avoid orange stars for the same reason - they get a bonus to food production and orange stars contain mainly those. Hivenids player put two white stars close to his home system - those always contain something that player can exploit - either a barren planet or an asteroid field (or combination of those).

Other players took a more balanced approach - both put an orange star and white/blue close to their home system.



RING Three.





The final ring of map creation and thus - the last chance to do some harm to other players. This time i tried to do some damage to Hivenids vicinity and put a red star close to his home system. He retaliated with the similar system, well.

Hivenids put a blue system close to Avis (blue) home. This later seriously slowed the Avis down, so blue systems from now on are also considered a powerful 'weapon' in map creation.

Avis made a serious mistake by putting an orange system close to his home. Having two blue systems and one orange he might get a guarded planet in one of them (each orange and blue stars set contain 4 out of 8 hexes with guarded planets). We advised him to put white or red star (both having lower numbers of guarded systems), but he didn`t listen to us. Later this orange star turned out to be guarded by a monster as we predicted, so his expansion was slowed down.

Wurmis (red player) concentrated on his sector. This later played a major role in his expansion as his race ability allowed him to colonise all those systems very fast.


Replacing neighbouring systems.


By the rules of map creation all players have two unused hexes left after the map was created. Players can replace one of the hexes neighbouring his home system by any of those that left unused. This time nobody replaced their systems, even Avis whom we once again tried to persuade.


Uncovering Deep Space hexes.





After the map is created - all the Deep Space hexes (with a '?' symbol on them) are turned up. In this game we got a few beautiful nebulas and nasty black holes creating walls between southern and northern parts of the map.

Nebulas slow down ships by forcing them to move just one hex when ships are flying out of it. All ships must stop in nebula if passing through it.

Black holes does not allow ships to pass through it or enter it.



Map overview.


The abundance of blue stars to the right of me produces a 'wall' that Wurmis wont path through for quite a long time, so i may ignore him for a while. Blue stars contain extreme worlds that are not the best choice for a rapid expansion in which Wurmis excel.

The passage to the north of me (between nebula and black hole) makes the only passable way for Hivenids to enter my space, so i should concentrate on taking it first. Usually players who play Hivenids and Avis - are forming some kind of formal non-aggression pact, so conflict between me and Hivenids is just a matter of time.

In the following posts i`ll write about first few turns of the game from my (humans) perspective.


Last edited by Okim on Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:23 am; edited 2 times in total
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Okim



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After the map was created and all Deep Space hexes turned up - it is time to take a first turn. I`ll describe the first 9 turns made by me and end up with a major game event (a quick and unexpected invasion).

Each turn consists of 5 phases:

1. Beginning of the turn
- first player title moves to next player clock-wise
- first player takes Random Event card and plays it

2. Player turn (player after player, clock-wise)
- science
- construction
- movement
- random encounters
- colonisation

3. Space battles (player after player, clock-wise)
- torpedo strike
- space battle

4. Invasions (player after player, clock-wise)
- bombardment
- ground battle

5. Victory points (player after player, clock-wise)
- missions
- victory point allocation

These might sound too complex, but in fact each turn is quite fast and easy to do once you carefully follow its sequence.


Turn 1.



My capitol produces 2 food, 3 minerals, 1 research point and 3 fleet points. That`s just one fleet point greater than other races have (Human`s special ability is +1 fleet point per capitol and construction colony).

Science:
Humans get a bonus to torpedoes and bombs. A small +1 to accuracy makes my cruisers (ships that can use both these weapons), battleships and colonies slightly better than other races have. So the first tech that i`ve chosen was a Rapid Reload Mechanism - a tech that adds +1 torpedo dice to my cruisers.

Torpedo strikes are played before the actual combat begins, so the more torpedo dice you can throw - the more chances that you`ll damage or even destroy your opponent before the battle.

The tech costs 3 research points, so it will take 3 turns for me to research it with my current capitol`s research capacity. I put a single dice on the tech card with '1' on its side representing how much RP i`ve spent.

Construction:
I decided to focus on exploration, so i ordered my capitol to construct a single Destroyer. It costs 3 minerals to build and consumes one fleet point. My capitol produces exactly 3 minerals, so this turn i have constructed my second DE (first was given at start for free).

Movement:
Knowing that red stars can contain just one guarded planet - i`ve send two of my DE to both neighbouring red stars. To my relief both did not contain any guardians and thus provided me with a little bonus.

Random Encounters:
First card (called 'Ship Debris') allowed me to pick it and later discard in the beginning of any of my turns to get an extra 4 minerals for the turn.

The second card (called 'Ancient Maps') allowed me to uncover any system on the map. I`ve pick one of the Hivenids red system. It contained nothing of interest and no guardians. By the rules of this card it also contains no random encounter, so i just made my first strike at Hivenids.

One of the red systems contained a barren world with asteroid field - that`s one of two red systems with planets, so i consider it a very lucky discovery.


Turn 2.



I`ve played my Ship Debris random encounter card and received 4 minerals. So, i have 7 minerals to spend this turn, good.

During this turn Wurmis managed to construct a transport which made me worry a bit.

Science:
Rapid Reloading gets one research point, so its already 2 out of 3 for this tech. The dice is now turned with its '2' side being on top. 1 for the first turn with 1 for this turn.

Construction:
Having 7 minerals i ordered a transport. It is an expensive ship (costing 6 minerals to build) that can transport fighters, troops, colonists and construct space stations on asteroid fields.

After the transport has left the drydock i ordered it to start constructing an asteroid mine. It will provide me with extra 1 mineral per turn. Not that much, but early in the game each one counts! Since i can`t contruct the mine during this turn (it costs 3 minerals and i have just 1 left after building transport) - i put a dice with '1' on its side near the mine`s token.


Movement:
I continue exploration of nearby stars. I can`t go further that 1 system from systems with my stations/colonies, so i can explore only those stars that have borders with my home system. The only race who can travel further in the start of the game - are Avis. Later i can develop techs that can increase range or find/buy a module that can do that.

Random Encounters:
New systems once again contained no guarded systems. This time i got an 'Abandoned Ship. card which allows me to put one DE from my reserves into that system. But unfortunately i`ve already reach my current fleet command point capacity. My colony generates 3 points, both my DEs each eats up 1 point and my transport eats the last one. BUT! This card says that i can take a random module instead of the ship, which i did. The module increased the maximum hit points of all the ships of the type that it is installed on by 1. But it is quite expensive and useless during the early stages of the game.

Second card gave me the same Ancient Maps which i used to uncover one of the Avis systems (again no guardians - and again no random exploration card for the player!).


Turn 3.



Science:
Rapid Reloading is finished. Great! No my cruisers are even deadlier with their 2 torpedoes each hitting on 6+ (normal cruiser has one torpedo hitting on 7+).

No RP left for this turn, so i can`t start a new project.

Construction:
I`ve spent 2 minerals out of produced 3 on finishing the asteroid mine and started to train colonists with remaining 1 mineral. Colonists are the most expensive unit in the game - they cost 12 minerals to train (Wurmis colonists cost 9 minerals), so starting these as early as possible - is very important.

Movement:
Nothing to explore this turn as i can`t go further than 1 system from my capitol. I have asteroids in nearby system where i can construct a new mine. It will allow my ships to move further. Unfortunately i can`t move my transport out of the home system as it was busy constructing a station this turn.

Random Encounters:
Other players started to get some guardians during exploration. Avis got a monster in nearby orange star which slowed his expansion and exploration (by eating up the only poor destroyer which Avis player had).


Turn 4.



By the rules no random events (news) can take place during first game cycle (a sequence of turns equal to number of players). This current turn is going to be the last before random events will start to pop up.

Science:
I`ve picked up a tech called Cavity Fuel Tanks (those that are using empty space between armour plating and hull). This tech increases the range of movement for my destroyers and transports (due to an extra vulnerability those tanks provide - only cheap and non-military ships can use them). The tech is expensive and costs 6 RP to develop, so its a long way of following 6 turns for my scientists to get it done.

Construction:
My mine now starts to give its 1 mineral per turn, so i have 4 to spend now. All four go for colonist as i can`t construct anything this turn. The dice now shows 5 on its side representing 1 mineral spent during the last turn and 4 on this turn. Oh, 7 more minerals to go!

Movement:
I gather all my ships in the system where i want to build the new mine, so that i can explore those two blue starts between me and Wurmis.

Other players:
Avis is slowly exploring his vicinity, Hivenids are setting up mines all over the explored space (they get 4 minerals per turn with their colony, so they can build faster than me or other players). Wurmis got their first colony!


Turn 5.



This turn was anticipated for quite a time as it is the first where players take Random Event cards. The cycle got the 'first player' title back to Wurmis, so its his turn to take the news card.

The first card turned out to be fleet size rating which i took by having 3 ships on the table. This grants me with 1 victory point.

Ratings are going to be removed from the game due to absolutely no joy in getting Victory Points this way.

Science:
Research is going on. 2 RP our of 6 are spend.

Construction:
This turn i spent 3 minerals on a new mine and the last one on colonist.

Movement:
As soon as the new mine was built - it started to be accounted in range calculations. This means that i can move my DE to explore new systems.

Random Encounters:
Both systems contained guardians! A mighty Ancient Scout was orbiting a rare planet with a bonus to science. A band of pirates set up their base near the ultra rich extreme planet with a good bonus to minerals production.

In both battles my destroyers were obliterated leaving me without exploration fleet!

Other players:

Hivenids approached very close to my northern space. This and the fact that i now have a wall of guarded systems separating me from Wurmis - made me to take a decision to focus on building up defences in the north. That was a deadly mistake that i`ve made in this game...


Turn 6.

My random event. Again ratings. This time the amount of stations. I and Hivenids got 2 stations, but by the rules of the card in such situations wins the player who goes earlier in turn sequence. So that`s another 1 Victory Point for me.

Science:
3 out of 6 RPs spent. That`s a half way to go!

Construction:
I now produce 5 minerals per turn (3 for capitol, 2 for both mines), but this is not enough to finish building a colonist this turn. So i build a destroyer and spent the rest 2 minerals on a colonist.

Movement:
Transport goes back to my capitol to pick a colonist the next turn. Newly constructed destroyer was sent to the north just in case.

Random Encounters:



Hivenids discovered a first wormhole in this game. It connected his space with the very heart of Wurmis empire. Later in the game this wormhole played a very important role.


Turn 7.

Hivenids turn to take random encounter. He lost a random mine.

Science:
4 out of 6 RPs spent.

Construction:
Colonist is finished! The last mineral is spent on the new colonist.

Movement:
Transport is busy setting up a new colony, destroyer patrols the northern system waiting for it to be colonised few turns later.

Random Encounters:
Avis found Ancient Maps and uncovered the last remaining system between me and Wurmis. It contain Natives - an aggressive pre-warp civilisation that players will have to fight in order to seize control of the planet.

Colonisation.

A new research colony was founded on Mars. This will boost my science a bit.


Turn 8.

A bad event to poor Avis player. This turn he lost two research points from his current research project. To his much relief he finished his project a turn ago, so he had no active project and thus no spent research points. Go away, bad event! You`ll get nothing here.

Science:
With the two research points being produced by my capitol and new research colony on Mars - i finished my Cavity Fuel Tanks this turn. Good as i was planning to start using it right from this turn.

Construction:
Colonist training in underway with 6 mineral being spent on it in total.

Movement:
My only DE is sent up to the north. With the new tech he can move that far from systems with my colonies and stations. I`m planning to use him to harm Hivenids in some way or another. But for now i see no opportunities to do so.

Random Encounters:
Avis discovered the second wormhole that leads directly into my space. This is bad as i now have two threats to worry about.


Turn 9.



Wurmis turn to take random event card. He gets three free troops and puts them on Aldebaran - the closest colony of his to the natives.

I`ve decided to sell my module. Players can sell their unused modules for 2 minerals (giving me 7 minerals for this turn). Not much, but can be very helpful in some situations (like in mine this turn).

Science:
I started to research a new project called (Crio-Pods) which will reduce the cost of my colonists by 4 minerals. I have plenty of planets to colonise, so i`ll need this tech.

Construction:
Selling the module gave me 2 extra minerals to spend this turn. This allows me to finish colonist and start training new one. "Expansion is a priority right now!" - tell i myself ignoring the 'red menace' quickly growing behind the wall of guardians to the right.

Movement:
Transport moves the new colonist to the north and sets a new industrial colony there. My destroyer moves further into Hivenids space seeking for an opportunity to do some damage to him.


---------


That`s the end of the first two game cycles (9 turns). These were quick and contained many difficult choices for all players.

During the following several turns players slowly, but peacefully expanded. One of the events closed the wormhole that connected my space with Avis. That was a much rejoice for both of us as we got rid of one threat to worry about.

I continued to harass Hivenids by my long range destroyers. I forced him to slow his expansion for a few turns and start to gather forces to repel my intrusion.

What was a major surprise to me - is a full scale invasion from the Wurmis!



He managed to clear all of the 'guardian' wall in one turn and set up a colony where natives where present. The next turn he just launched all of his fleets into my space and within several turns took my colony and devastated two my mines.



His 2 cruisers fired 3 torpedoes each! The number of dice that even my humans specialised in torpedoes could not generate. I`v played an action card 'Friend or Foe' that deals damage to the opponent for all his missing torpedoes. Out of 6 torpedoes he hit 4 times killing both of my cruisers. In return he got 3 my torpedoes and 1 damage for his misses for each cruiser. But this was not enough to kill his ships (he sacrificed all his fighters to prevent cruisers from being destroyed).

If not for the Hivenids - i would have lost my capitol!

Hivenids launched a large offensive on Wurmis through the wormhole. This forced the over-expanded aggressor to scrap his fleets in my space and rebuilt them near the wormhole.



The game ended with Wurmis accumulating all the required Victory Points ahead of other players. Even the fact that i retook my colony back and captured some of his - he managed to win. His success was in the number of colonies and lots of completed missions.


Last edited by Okim on Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:52 am; edited 7 times in total
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wurmis won this game by accumulating 16 Victory Points. He did it mainly by colonising and completing various missions. The last victory point was given to him for the destruction of a monster (that`s the reward the players receive for that kind of guardian). Wurmis was playing this game for the first time, btw.

Avis didn`t go far due to their slow down in the first turns. When others have explored all of their stars - Avis just had two discovered systems. That`s not how this race is intended to be played!

Hivenids were close to victory, but failed to capture any of the Wurmis colonies they aimed for.

I managed to take back my lost colony and even take on of the unguarded colonies of Wurmis. Should we play for few extra turns - i would have taken two more and completed a difficult mission. That would bring me very close to victory.


The number of Victory Points required for victory was 16 in this game. After this game the required amount of VPs was reduced to 12.


---


Players actively used their priceless Action cards during the game. Players get those only for colonisation and invasions, so its easy to imagine how many of those powerful tools had Wurmis player.

Action cards were used to completely stop a transport with a colonist for the whole turn. Two cards were used to ruin production of colonists - one against Avis, one against me. Other cards were used to steal modules from players. One of the funniest thing was when i played a card that allows me to move any one ships and its cargo to any systems within its reach. I tried to send a transport with colonists to pirates, but its owner managed to ignore my card with his powerful 'Preventive Measures' card.


---

Speaking of my game play - i pointed out three major mistakes that i`ve made.

The very first one was with over-reacting to Hivenids getting close to me. I`ve concentrated on reinforcing our borders, but just a single colony and a missile base could have secured the only passage quite well on their own.

The second one - i completely ignored the Wurmis player whom i though to be much less aggressive due to him playing this game for the first time.

The third mistake was when i tried to repel Wurmis fleet without moving in a transport with fighters. Fighters are deadly, but their main role is to ignore damage dealt to other ships. Wurmis managed to ignore most of my hits that i dealt to him by sacrificing his cheap fighters.
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SenniTreborius



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:58 pm    Post subject: look of the game first impressions Reply with quote

Reminds me of amoeba wars from AH back in the days when I was a board game designer at fusilier games.
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