MikeEvans

Jol Nar + Integrated Economy - Did they playtest this?

32 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Ok, so I've got my copy now, and I was sharing the juicy tidbits with my buddy @Robofish.  He and I were theorycrafting about his favorite race (you can guess it by his screen name, and the title of this post).  He immediately saw the potential for a pretty powerful opening that I'm about to write about.  I'm bringing it up here to make sure that we're understanding this right.

Let me post some necessary info so those of you without the game (which is most of you) can understand what I'm talking about.

Jol Nar Racial abilities:

  • -1 to combat
  • When you do the secondary of Technology SC, you can do the primary instead
  • When you research a tech that is not a unit upgrade, you may ignore 1 prerequisite.

Jol Nar Racial techs:

  • Spatial Conduit Cylinder - Counts as Blue tech, requires 2 blue techs.  You may exhaust this card after you activate a system that contains 1 or more of your units; that system is adjacent to all other systems that contain 1 or more of your units during this activation.
  • E-Res Siphons - Counts as Yellow tech, requires 2 yellow techs.  After another player ativates a system that contains 1 or more of your ships, gain 4 trade goods.

Jol Nar Starting Techs:  1 tech of each color (all of the ones without prereqs)

 

Ok, here's the scenario.  You're Jol Nar.  You take the Trade Strategy Card.  You use it to get 3 Trade Goods.  Later on in the turn, a player does the Technology SC.  You do the primary ability.  That gives you one free tech plus the option to purchase another for 6 resources.  For your free tech, you use your ability to skip a prereq (yellow) and buy either Transit Diodes or E-Res Siphons.  Then you pay 6 resources (3 TGs plus your planets), use your ability to skip a prereq AGAIN (yellow) and buy Integrated Economy.

Integrated Economy: Counts as a Yellow tech.  Requires 3 Yellow techs (2 for you).  After you gain control of a planet, you may produce any number of units on that planet that have a combined cost equal to or less than that planet's resource value.

Now you're golden.  From my reading of Integrated Economy, you don't need a unit that can produce units (like a space dock or whatever) in order to make the units.  If you did the tech would be absolutely worthless to all but a few races since it only works when you take a planet for the first time.  So the units you produce just appear out of thin air.  There is no production limit, either, so you can build as much as you can afford, and what you can afford is determined by the planets you land on.  

So what you do is move your carrier out of your home system and take a nice resource-rich system.  Let's assume Bereg/Lirta or Abyz/Fria.  You may now build up to 5 resources' worth of stuff in this system.  That could be up to 10 Ground Forces or Fighters, capacity permitting.  You basically don't need to resupply your colonization forces at all as you move along.  If you get attacked, you get tons of money which you can use to buy ships.  Pick up your other racial tech the following turn (for free) to shuttle all your shiny new ships to the front line.

I'm trying to imagine a scenario where Jol Nar doesn't just steamroll everybody until everybody else in the game unites to put them down.  Even that will be hard with every single attack feeding them fat stacks of Trade Goods.

 

The reason Robofish saw this immediately is because it's a variation of a pretty common Jol Nar early-game tactic from 3rd edition.  You take trade, use the money to double-tech to Nanotechnology.  Nanotechnology let you refresh planets immediately when you took them.  This gave Jol Nar a ton of money in the beginning, and it was a strong enough opening that people had to watch out for it.  "Don't let a good Jol Nar player take trade 1st turn or you'll regret it!"  This is the same thing only you GET TO MAKE UNITS ON THOSE PLANETS TOO.  And you can reinforce them very easily from great distances away thanks to Spatial Conduit and E-Res Siphons, which are SO much easier for Jol Nar to afford early in this edition.

Am I missing some vital rule that prevents this exploit?  If not... Did anybody playtest this?  Anybody out there who can tell me how it went?  Because this seems nuts. 

Edited by MikeEvans
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I've only seen the race sheets, so I'm not sure what other racial abilities people pick up through techs or unit upgrades.

That being said, I'm just guessing from some of the other abilities and tech we've seen so far but one thing that seems to be changed in TI4 is that they wanted the races to be much faster/stronger than in TI3.

I wouldn't be surprised if everyone has some fairly absurd abilities that they can gain relative early access to, such as the Naalu's advanced fighters or the Xxcha canceling people's tactical actions when they're attacked.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Mike. This means the fish will rule the galaxy!!!!! 

Mwahahahahaha!!!!!

When I first saw Nanotech from Shattered Empires, it became clear that it was balanced unless you could get it early for the starting land grab. Trade seemed the obvious way to do that. 

This new opening is even better for the fish, as you can also give your neighbors their commodities for free off trade. Say to the tech player "how about you play tech first, then when we meet I'll give you all 4 of my commodities for your 2?" Then you use sarween and the the 2 tgs to build two more gfs, and a couple of fighters and a destroyer, and now you have a balanced and huge fleet. Universe, here I come. 

Edited by Robofish

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Robofish said:

Thanks Mike. This means the fish will rule the galaxy!!!!! 

Mwahahahahaha!!!!!

When I first saw Nanotech from Shattered Empires, it became clear that it was balanced unless you could get it early for the starting land grab. Trade seemed the obvious way to do that. 

This new opening is even better for the fish, as you can also give your neighbors their commodities for free off trade. Say to the tech player "how about you play tech first, then when we meet I'll give you all 4 of my commodities for your 2?" Then you use sarween and the the 2 tgs to build two more gfs, and a couple of fighters and a destroyer, and now you have a balanced and huge fleet. Universe here I come. 

And than you try to fight the other races and remember that you are still just fish-nerds. 

Edited by Duskwalker

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Fish-nerds with a -1 to combat rolls...

Don't get me wrong, I love the fish-nerds and always pick them when I can. Unless I also have the Desert Cats to choose from. Money roolz!

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48 minutes ago, Fjuri said:

Do you read it as though you get the units for free? I don't.

Thas was the same thought I got. You are allowed to produce for that value, but that does not mean, it is paid for (actually I dont have TI4 in my hands, so I dont know the exact wording, so maybe it is).

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49 minutes ago, Fjuri said:

Do you read it as though you get the units for free? I don't.

pretty sure it is, otherwise it would be fairly underwhelming for a lvl 4 technology 

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34 minutes ago, Duskwalker said:

pretty sure it is, otherwise it would be fairly underwhelming for a lvl 4 technology 

Actually, if you read rule 58.1 you can see that you need to pay for the units you produce. 

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Posted (edited)

From the rules reference under producing units:

58.1 Each unit that a player can produce has a cost value presented 
on its faction sheet or technology card. To produce a unit, 
a player must spend a number of resources from planets he 
controls equal to or greater than the cost value of the unit he is 
producing. 

 

Edit: so if the wording is as Mike said, you'd have to pay.

Edited by Fjuri

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Duskwalker said:

pretty sure it is, otherwise it would be fairly underwhelming for a lvl 4 technology 

How is being able to produce units at the point of takeover of a planet underwhelming when you otherwise would have to spend another action to build a Space Dock and then a third to build units. That's a two turn shortening of build time plus the fact that you could free up a command counter that you would otherwise have to spend to build in, say, your home system.

Edited by Fnoffen
for spelling

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7 minutes ago, Fnoffen said:

How is being able to produce units at the point of takeover of a planet underwhelming when you otherwise would have to spend another action to build a Space Dock and then a third to build units. That's a two turn shortening of build time plus the fact that you could free up a command counter that you would otherwise have to spend to build in, say, your home system.

Because, unless you are Jol Nar, every planet on the board will be taken by the time you get to it, especially those with high resource vale. Nano-Technology in TI3 gave you planets exhausted, and that one was always consider situational, and most of thous situations where about making your dreadnoughts immune against direct hits. In addition, two of the races can basically already do this by other means, making this tech mostly worthless to them (or at lest for the Saar, Aborek might get some mileage out of it). I just don't think occasionally being able to get a few extra fighters on the front line for there normal price justifies several round of research to get it.       

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Posted (edited)

Ok, it's a lot more manageable if you have to actually pay for the units.  That MUST be how it's supposed to be.  However, I did speak with a friend who was a playtester (he's in the rulebook credits) and he didn't blink when I brought up being able to produce units for free.  He had said that he didn't get a chance to play with the Jol Nar so he couldn't say how strong it was.  I'm guessing nobody in his games got Integrated Economy either or he probably would have corrected me.

But surely you can see how some would interpret it as getting to produce those units for free:  "You may produce units with a combined cost..."  They should have said "You may spend resources to produce units, up to a combined cost..." or something like that, instead, just to eliminate any confusion.  Yes, that wording could be seen as slightly redundant but clarity is key.

Even if you do have to pay for the units, it's a good tech, just not a broken one.  Being able to produce units without a space dock while you're making incursion into neutral (or even more importantly, enemy) territory is tremendously helpful.  ...Especially since it's now harder to get speed-2 carriers who can replenish the front lines.

If you take a resource-rich system you can pop out a couple of cruisers, maybe even a Dreadnought, or better yet, completely replenish your fighter screen that was shredded by enemy destroyers.

Edited by MikeEvans

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You shouldn't be forced to write "You may spend resources to produce units..." when you write in the rule book what "production" means, i e exactly that. 

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Posted (edited)

7 hours ago, Duskwalker said:

Because, unless you are Jol Nar, every planet on the board will be taken by the time you get to it, especially those with high resource vale. Nano-Technology in TI3 gave you planets exhausted, and that one was always consider situational, and most of thous situations where about making your dreadnoughts immune against direct hits. In addition, two of the races can basically already do this by other means, making this tech mostly worthless to them (or at lest for the Saar, Aborek might get some mileage out of it). I just don't think occasionally being able to get a few extra fighters on the front line for there normal price justifies several round of research to get it.       

So what if every planet is taken? It doesn't have to be a neutral planet, only a planet you took control of.

Take a planet from another player, estabilish an immediate spearhead to replenish some of the ships you just used or just fill it with GF to not lose it later in the round.

Edited by vidyaraja

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17 hours ago, vidyaraja said:

So what if every planet is taken? It doesn't have to be a neutral planet, only a planet you took control of.

Take a planet from another player, estabilish an immediate spearhead to replenish some of the ships you just used or just fill it with GF to not lose it later in the round.

Look, I'm not saying the ability to buy an additional destroyer or a couple of extra fighters far away from your space docs now and then isn't neat, but if I have to chose between this and self-repairing War Suns or the ability to win every invasion combat automatically, I know where my science-money goes.   

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I agree that this seems very underwhelming for a Level 4 tech. Is there maybe some brilliant tactical use for this that isn't immediately apparent?

I'm tempted to house rule that you get the units for half cost -- thematically, you integrate the new planet so quickly that it helps defray the resources needed -- but I've sworn to fight the urge to house rule anything until I've got many games of the new edition under my belt.

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It does seem counterintuitive. When take over the planet you get a one off bunch of manufacturing abilities as opposed to a one-off resource cache?!? This seems to make little sense. 

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Posted (edited)

On 8/20/2017 at 9:26 AM, Rico01 said:

You shouldn't be forced to write "You may spend resources to produce units..." when you write in the rule book what "production" means, i e exactly that. 

Yes, but the "Combined cost" part makes it a little vague.  "Produce units with a combined cost" can be interpreted differently than intended (as Robofish, myself, and a playtester did).  It is always better to be redundant than vague when it comes to rules, wouldn't you agree?

Edited by MikeEvans
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Posted (edited)

8 hours ago, pklevine said:

I'm tempted to house rule that you get the units for half cost -- thematically, you integrate the new planet so quickly that it helps defray the resources needed -- but I've sworn to fight the urge to house rule anything until I've got many games of the new edition under my belt.

I'm a house-rules fiend and yet I, like you, will probably play a few games Rules As Written (RAW) before I break out the house rules.  Well, at least one game.  Not sure I'll be able to last longer than that without my precious Transfer Actions!

If I were to write Integrated Economy, I would have written something like, "Each of your planets may produce a number of units equal to its resource value."  So you don't have to take the planet to get the ability, and you're not limited to producing cheap units.  Maybe it would be too strong, being able to pump out a Dreadnought or War Sun on the front line without having to wait to make a dock.  If I were to limit anything, I would allow it only for planets that you have owned since the start of the Tactical Action.

I'll try it RAW a little and see how it goes.  If it's absolutely underwhelming, I'll go from there.  It seems that a lot of the generic colored techs are somewhat less powerful than previous editions (with some exceptions... Transit Diodes and Fleet Logistics are actually useable now).  I guess that makes sense considering that they are cheaper to get now.  Racial techs, though... woof.  And I'm curious to see how some of the ship upgrade techs do, too.  Getting Type IV, a better Stasis Capsule (since you can take fighters now), AND Hylar all in one tech is pretty amazing.  Hopefully all of these improvements will help keep fighters from being the end-all to be-all that they were in TI3.
 

I still wish Fighters and GFs were 1 resource each, though.  This edition is all about simplicity and it ALWAYS confuses new players when I explain to them that you get 2 fighters for 1 resource, but each fighter uses one production capacity.  Also that you can't buy 1 fighter and 1 GF with 1 resource.  GRRRRR

Edited by MikeEvans

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, MikeEvans said:

Yes, but the "Combined cost" part makes it a little vague.  "Produce units with a combined cost" can be interpreted differently than intended (as Robofish, myself, and a playtester did).  It is always better to be redundant than vague when it comes to rules, wouldn't you agree?

Sure, I can agree that the text can be clearer and I can be wrong about the intention of the card. However, to me it is quite clear what production means according to the rules. if you were given the units it should say "for free" as it has been on many cards in TI3 when that was the intention.

And "combined cost" to me is not vague if we are discussing if you have to pay or not. That is clear to me as it stated you "may produce".

Edited by Rico01

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On 8/20/2017 at 5:11 AM, MikeEvans said:

Ok, here's the scenario.  You're Jol Nar.  You take the Trade Strategy Card.  You use it to get 3 Trade Goods.  Later on in the turn, a player does the Technology SC.  You do the primary ability.  That gives you one free tech plus the option to purchase another for 6 resources.  For your free tech, you use your ability to skip a prereq (yellow) and buy either Transit Diodes or E-Res Siphons.  Then you pay 6 resources (3 TGs plus your planets), use your ability to skip a prereq AGAIN (yellow) and buy Integrated Economy.

Well, the Jol-Nar ability says: "Brilliant: When you spend a command token to resolve the secondary ability of the "technology" strategy card, you may resolve the primary ability instead. ". I would say that it is pretty clear that the Jol-Nar cannot use both the primary AND the secondary of the strategy card - and this is a change compared to TI 3rd edition. So the Jol-Nar could not pull this trick of in the first round, as it requires them to get 2 techs (it would work in subsequent rounds, however).

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1 hour ago, grandmaster2 said:

Well, the Jol-Nar ability says: "Brilliant: When you spend a command token to resolve the secondary ability of the "technology" strategy card, you may resolve the primary ability instead. ". I would say that it is pretty clear that the Jol-Nar cannot use both the primary AND the secondary of the strategy card - and this is a change compared to TI 3rd edition. So the Jol-Nar could not pull this trick of in the first round, as it requires them to get 2 techs (it would work in subsequent rounds, however).

Check the article and reread the new tech SC. The primary ability gives you a tech for free plus the option to purchase a second tech for 6. In his scenario the AREN'T using both the primary and secondary. 

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14 minutes ago, Forgottenlore said:

Check the article and reread the new tech SC. The primary ability gives you a tech for free plus the option to purchase a second tech for 6. In his scenario the AREN'T using both the primary and secondary. 

Ah you're right. I missed the second part of the strategy card - my mistake

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Your example also assumes that the 3TG's have been traded and can be spent as gold. They changed the way trade goods operate and they aren't worth anything until they are given to you by another player.

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