Moving Around - Basic Strategy

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Gislef
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Moving Around - Basic Strategy

We don't seem to be having much luck fighting anyone except the Technovores. So our basic question is this:

Assuming a three-player game, how should player ships split up into sectors? (feel free to adjust for different enemies/player ships)

Is it better to take on one sector? And if all three ships go there, better to go 1-1-1 (if there are three enemy ships), or 1-2 (if there are two enemy ships, more likely)?

We seem to manage to clear out one sector, but a) the other two sectors overrun pretty quickly, and b) they flip cards that eventually send ships to the sector that we cleared, requiring us to hang around and deal with them. We never get much traction trying to leave the cleared sector, because the other two sectors are drawing 3 cards per turn, hitting their fleet limit pretty quickly, and sending ships to our sector due to various Travel actions on them.

And often, when we clear a sector and move onto the next, then a card flips and sends a ship to the sector we cleared. So we have to go back there and clear it again... thus the lack of traction part.

It seems like there are too many starting ships. The ships by themselves are okay, but then you've got Missions in the mix, and we seem to hit the ones that summon/move Opp ships. Yes, youi can reduce the # of starting ships. But presumably that wasn't the intent or the starting number given wouldn't be... well, the starting number given.

Or maybe it's just bad luck. But if so, we seem to have a lot of it.

Thanks!


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Foote
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Lets touch on a few things:

1) Team Composition:

Obviously some compositions of SF ships will be more effective than others which should be no surprise. As an oversimplification, you will want to form a composition that has equal parts "Buying Power" and "Scrapping Ability". Now, what do I mean by these?

Buying Power is exactly what it sounds like, a SF ship with either a high internal bank roll (Vigilance being a prime example), or decent a moderate bankroll with ultra high out of phase mobility (like Folly). This is important when you look at sector manipulation. A lot of times (most of the time) you are not buying what your ship "needs", but what you don't want to flip. Lets say you have 1 sector clear with 2 overruned. In one of the overrun sectors, the 1st station card you know is going to flip in the Aftermath and send Opps into your cleared sector making all the work you just did worthless. What a Ship like Folly, for instance, can do very well, is get into that sector, buy that card (and any others that you really cant aford flipping) and get out of that sector before the Aftermath occurs. Vigilance doesn't have the mobility like Folly does, but it can buy so many cards and cycle the deck so fast that you have a lot of tools to manipulate and dictate what will happen. This is critical to success (feel free to look at the backs of station cards to remind you what they do. every station card has the same back so dont feel like you have to leave it up to memory. screw what the "rules" say about this).

Scrapping Ability is if a SF ship can Scrap Opp ships outside of the engagement phase. A ship like Vigilance can only scrap 1 Opp ship per round during the battle phase, with no internal ways of scrapping other ships outside of buying something like Strike Force Tactics (a great buy for that particular ship for this reason). If you have a 3 player team of Viligance, Basilieos, and Conclave, unless your station manipulation skills are incredible you will have a harder time against a lot of Opposition forces that play a lot of cards. You will need ships like Claw, Tharendim, Hammer, and others who have the ability to scrap ships outside of battle. Note that most SF ships with Scrapping Ability have lower bank rolls to compensate and vice versa.

More Later....

 

Gislef
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Thanks!

I'm pretty sure we understand that part of it. But for instance, buying a top card that is dangerous is no guarantee that the next card isn't just as dangerous if not more so (or less).

There's also the fact that you have three ships, but (typically) nine stations. And engaging can sometimes be... well, not so good. It ends up getting you damaged with relatively little or no payback.

We seem to end up in circumstances where one ship breaks off to stop an overturn of the first card (and second, and third), but however much it buys (short of voiding the station deck entirelky) then the final top card of the first station is equally harmful. And gets hurt early on by the ship that they need to engage to stop it. While there's a second ship that will still take the first station card. You can send a second ship to engage the second Opp ship, but then that's a different sector that is no longer "protected."

We don't have a problem with examining station cards. We'll save the memorization for when we no longer need to study them. ;)


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Foote
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Gislef wrote:

Thanks!I'm pretty sure we understand that part of it. But for instance, buying a top card that is dangerous is no guarantee that the next card isn't just as dangerous if not more so (or less).There's also the fact that you have three ships, but (typically) nine stations. And engaging can sometimes be... well, not so good. It ends up getting you damaged with relatively little or no payback.We seem to end up in circumstances where one ship breaks off to stop an overturn of the first card (and second, and third), but however much it buys (short of voiding the station deck entirelky) then the final top card of the first station is equally harmful. And gets hurt early on by the ship that they need to engage to stop it. While there's a second ship that will still take the first station card. You can send a second ship to engage the second Opp ship, but then that's a different sector that is no longer "protected."We don't have a problem with examining station cards. We'll save the memorization for when we no longer need to study them. ;)

Prioritize station cards that, when flipped, play Opps cross-sector. Those honestly are the only ones you need to worry about in the early game when trying to lock down a sector. Very often you will have 2 overrun sectors for a good part of the mid-game, which is fine. Having Opps played in those sectors is also fine due to the fleet-limit restriction (Singularity is an exception, but it's also the hardest Opp). But as long as you can limit Cross-Sector Opp plays, you should be ok in getting and holding at least 1 sector. There are really not that many of those so you should be ok buying them.

Let's talk about buying cards for a bit, because it's an aspect of the game that is a lot more in-depth than it seems. Let me pose you a question: Is it better to buy a card you really want/need and risk having a bad card flip, or not buying the really good card and letting it flip for little negative effect? In general (with some exceptions), the better cards for your SF will have easier Opp-Effects if they flip, while the station cards that seem not-so-good usually flip the worst effects. There is oppertunity costs assosiated with buying anything. Often it is much better to not buy that tempting Strike Force Tactics boost and just let it flip. You know, as the players, what the game will do in the Aftermath phase. Use your purchases to influence that table more than using it to influence your own ship.

Since we are on the subject of buying station cards, let's quickly touch on "deck bloat". One of the worst things you can do with any SF ship is buy "too much". Yes, those techs and boosts are good, and sure you want them, but at what cost do they come (and not just price wise)? Not only does buying cards have a cost of risk about what will be under them, but there is also an internal deck cost as well. The more cards in your deck, the "slower" it runs. For example, one of the SF ships that worries the most about deck bloat is Claw. If you are playing the Claw, your primary focus is to cycle Ramming Speed and at least one of it's enablers (Hit&Run or Deadly Focus) as often as possible. There is a large difference between using Ramming Speed every 1-2 rounds or using it every 2-3 rounds. It's a massive difference. And to make matters worse for Claw, he comes with no internal way to cycle his deck faster. This is why SF ships like Vigilance or Basileios are much more equiped to purchas more. Yes they have higher bank rolls sure, but they both have boosts that allow them to cycle their deck much faster, allowing them to deal with some bloat while still maintaning a high deck speed. A lot of SF ships cannot afford the deckspace to buy more than 1 card, maybe two, per round, least they sacrifice speed since most of the internal Boosts a deck has are better than the stuff you buy.

I had written a small handful of "Pilot Operations Manuals" that go into detail about different SF ships, how to use them, and more importantly, what they "need" to buy and what they can live without. I think the one for Claw really has a ton of tips and might help you think about everything I talked above in a different way.

https://greaterthangames.com/forum/topic/pilot-operations-manual-kharachars-claw-5319

There is also a training simulation in there where I detailed how you can lock down whole sectors with fancy flying from Claw which might help you as well. I never got around to making these manuals for every SF ship, but I think I have about 4 or 5 of them so you can get a solid idea of how I specifically look at buying and purchasing cards for a number of different ships.

Gislef
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I think the main thing we're not understand is the maneuvering of player ships, particularly the secondary ability of supporters (move a player to another sector), and the related tech stuff.

There seems to be some value and/or streatgy to it that we're not grasping.


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Foote
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Gislef wrote:

I think the main thing we're not understand is the maneuvering of player ships, particularly the secondary ability of supporters (move a player to another sector), and the related tech stuff.There seems to be some value and/or streatgy to it that we're not grasping.

Secondary engagment abilities are honestly rarely going to be used. Putting 2 SF ships engaging a single target means theres an extra Opp ship not being engaged and flipping cards in the Aftermath. 95% of the time its better to engage as many Opps as you can, meaning those secondary engagment abilities never come into play (that other 5% usually happens when you are backing up someone attacking the Flagship for some extra energy).

Where you move in the travel phase, and how you move after that with abilities, is just something you have to plan out from the very start. At the start of every travel phase, you know what the sector cards are, what they can flip into, and what Opps are there and their abilities are. Take some time to plan out your turn at the start to see your potential options and what the best plan of action is going to be. If you know exactly what will flip and where, you can make good decisions to make the aftermath as least painful as posibile while making gains into the mid-late game.

Just understand that having sectors overrun is going to happen (and sometimes really good because you can abuse the fleet limit making sector manipulation 100% easier). Also understand that you win the game by taking out the flagship! Know exactly when/how you can bring it out and at what point your SF ships are going to be strong enough to directly engage it. 

Paul
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I just want to thank Foote for his awesome strategy updates on GSF - he's the best player and teacher of the game that I know of! I hope you're having fun with it!


“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.” ~Obi-Wan Kenobi