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I’m looking for a trunk full of Skulls.

In the game.

Anyway, we remember last turn I spread a little towards a world I could Settle, but so did the neutral worlds because I couldn’t handle the Challenge turn.  But I get to draw some new cards, so let’s see what my new hand looks like.

I draw 3 cards and add them to the 2 from last turn to have: H4* – M1 – H3 – F3 – F6

Insert sad trombone sound here.

This does give me some options, though.  I can use the Foot to move to the sector with Quyth in it, and then the Moon to settle it.  It’s always nice to have some extra worlds.  I could also play my other Hand to have a Battle.  Since there’s no cubes in my sectors, I would remove one of my cubes and then raise one of my CMSX scores by one.  I could recover the S damage I took last turn.  Kind of quell any thoughts of rebellion with an iron fist!

I think I’m going to do that, just so I keep my Moon card in case I need it for the Challenge phase.  It’s good to have a wide range of cards in hand to limit damage dealt.

So I’ll just play one of my foot cards (feet cards?) and then a hand card to raise my Stability back up by one.  So I’m set up for next turn, and I’ve recovered from last turn, though my Home Sector is down to 2 cubes, but I’m sure I’ll get that back at some point.

Unfortunately I again am lacking a Skull card to “pay” for my Homeworld, so I will be facing two challenges.  In my hand I have a Hand, Moon and Foot.  Let’s do some hoping.

Card 1: K3 – THERE are the Skulls!  I draw for a number and get F4 which on Table 6 is Xeno-worshipping Cult! decrease Xeno Relations by 3 and add 1 random rival cube.

EEP!

So I’m at -3 in my Xeno Relations now.  -6 is Insta-Loss, so I’ll have to do something about that.  I pull to find out where the new cube is placed, and it’s in another random sector: 61.  Yet another Skull card out of the deck in those pulls, too.

Okay, one more Challenge card to deal with before I can draw new cards.  Let’s see what it is.

Caard 2: F5 – That one I can deal with!  I discard my F6 card and breathe a little easier.  The turn is over and the board now looks like this:

round2

I liked the look of the last board better…

Let’s draw a new hand and come up with a plan.

H4* – M1 – M6 – H6 – K1

A Skull card!  I could play it now in order to add an advancement to my Homeworld, which is always awesome, or hold on to it to lower the amount of Challenges I have to deal with this turn as well as build up a bit of defense against future Challenges.  Of course, having two techs on a World usually makes it easier to pay for it (because I’ll have two possible suits that will pay the cost).

I think I’ll play defensively and hold onto the card because my X is so low at the moment.  First thing’s first, though, and I’m going to do a Settle action by playing a Moon card.  Now there are multiple times you can play Moon to settle like:

If you have cubes where there’s a neutral world, boom, it’s yours and you get a free Advance and Tech for conquering it.

If, like me, you have a World in your hand in a Sector you control, you can play it.  Only bonus you get for that is you get to draw a card.

If you have no Worlds in your hand, but have blank cards, you CAN CREATE YOUR OWN WORLD CARD.  That’s the fun part.  Sometimes it’s worth playing your World cards whenever you can because it’s much easier to just make a new World with a new tech on it.  You don’t get to draw a replacement card when you do that, so you effectively play 2 cards for the 1 action, but there you go.

If your hand has World cards in sectors you don’t control and all your cards have writing on them, you’re stuck and can’t do a Settle action.  Too bad.

Anywho, I play Quyth to my Tableau and draw S6 as a replacement.  Nice, a Sun card.  Haven’t gotten one of them yet.  Quyth has the power that when I do a growth action, I can move my Culture up by 2.  Because it’s a Settled World, I have to discard the card when I do that.  However, the plus side is that I’ll still have cubes in that Sector (we hope), so the next time it comes up in my hand, I can just settle it again.  Also, I can discard the card as a Heart if I need to for a Challenge.  More defense!

I think I’m going to play my new Sun card for a Power action which will have me draw 2 cards.  I’d love to play my Hand card and try to raise my X up, but I don’t have a lot of cubes floating around and I’d hate to get attacked.  I could play my other Moon now and make another Planet, but then my hand will be practically empty for the Challenge phase, and that’s probably not a good idea.

Of course, I could play recklessly….

Nah.  I’ll play the Sun and draw: R2* and S5.  R2 has a World that is 2 hexes from Quyth.  Might be worth holding on to, but it’s also the only Heart I have and doing a growth action is mighty nice right now.

On to the Payment phase.  I have to pay a Skull for my homeworld (I still have no techs to pay for), and I can do it this time!  I discard K1 and put a marker on my homeworld to show it’s paid for.  Each card can have up to 3 markers on it.  These markers can be discarded in lieu of discarding a card of a suit of one of the techs on that Homeworlds or Tech card.  So for now it only counts as a Skull card, but I can add more technologies with Advance actions later.

Now the Challenge phase with only one card!  And that card is: M5

Glad I wasn’t reckless.  I discard my Moon and all is well for turn 3.  So the board didn’t change at all, but my Tableu looks a little different:

tableau1

Things are starting to look good.  Let’s populate this galaxy and start making tech and new cards and all that fun stuff!  We start by drawing more cards making our hand:

H6 – R2*- S5 – K2 – H1*

H1 has Syrnix which is also two hexes away from my homeworld.  I have places I can spread to, although I’ll be awfully close to the neutral territories there.  But I drew another Skull!  I think it’s time to use it for Advancement.

So, normally I would advance my world because it would make it easier to pay for and I wouldn’t need to spend 2 cards every Payment phase.  HOWEVER, my Homeworld allows me to choose 2 of the techs on the card.  Not the suit, mind you, but the tech itself from the choices.  Usually you can only choose one, but this kind of power can mean I can really balance myself out.  I think.

So I play K2 and discard the top card of the deck to see if it’s a blank card: R1* Nope, it’s a World!  Because of that I grab a completely new index card and make a new tech.  I love adding things to the deck!  So I grab the card and I add three suits to the side of the card.

Firstly the card is K2, so another skull in the deck, so that’s nice.  The suits I pull are Heart, Moon and Heart.  I check out all the options under Heart and Moon and decide on Philosophy.  When I do an Advance action (sadly, another Skull modifier), I raise X by 1.  It’s something I need.  I’m going to name the Tech “Galactic Library.”  Why not?  The tech now looks like this:

Newtech

A few things to note: The ‘1’ next to the word Tech.  That means this card was created in generation 1.  It lets you keep track of what was created when.  Makes your deck a huge history lesson.  Also the “circle” around the ‘M’, that shows that I picked the technology.  That let’s me know I’m not allowed to pick another one unless I have the Physics technology.  Hmmm, now that I’m looking at the card, I should make sure to mark that it works during the Advance action, otherwise I’ll never remember.

Now that I’ve done that, I still have my second action to do.  I think I’ll play my lone Heart card to get some more cubes on the board.  I won’t use Quyth’s power because that will allow me to defend against any Heart based challenges, and I don’t have any other abilities that boost Culture, so going for a Culture win probably isn’t going to happen.  I drop the cubes in 56, right in the middle of my little empire.  Now for the doom and gloom.

Payment is…something I should have thought more about.  I only have Hand and Sun, and I need Skull and Moon to pay, so I add 2 cards to the Challenge deck.  Then I add the 1 that’s always added, and the Challenge phase looks pretty daunting.

Card 1 – M3 – I have nothing for that, sadly.  So I get whacked with Moon Failure #2, the deck tells me.  Innervating ennui.  Awesome.  decrease Stability by 3 and decrease Culture by 1.

This might be my last turn if this keeps up!  Glad I didn’t bother with Culture.

Card 2 – K4 – with this one, I can just discard the cube sitting on my Homeworld.  Phew.

Card 3 – F2 – Dangit. Failure F5 – Xeno intervention – decrease Xeno Relations by 1 and add 3 random rival cubes.  I better start reading in my Library!  Let’s add my cubes:

Oh, huh.  All 3 are supposed to go to the same sector.  What do you know?  It doesn’t hit a neutral world, so I pull a random sector.  56.

56

One of my sectors.

Which means I take off my cubes on a one-for-one basis.  Oh dear.  Now look at the board.

round4

I hope I can Advance next turn, because I can add Genetics to my Library and Grow an extra 2 cubes.  Yes, it’s oft times random and wacky, but damn if this doesn’t tell a grand story.  My empire is being torn asunder by alien lovers!

Stay tuned!  Will I die in the next post, only to start a new empire on Castreem’s ashes and use their Library for my own needs?  Heck, even I don’t know!

But I know now!

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