Our story begins already in progress….
Location: Board Game Geek League, Platinum Division – Season 12
FlyingArrow has run away with the division and will be crowned the solo victor of the tier. His last opponent is yours truly (TheeMystic). As has been the tradition, the former tier champion faces off against the top seed in a matchup ensuring maximum high drama. This time, the drama didn’t come from the comparative records of the players, but rather a very interesting situation that just might have decided the game.
We are playing Vanilla. In the early game, I went for economy and was able to buy Flagship, BattleCruiser, Missile Mech Blob Destroyer, Battle Pod, Blob Fighter and Survey Ship. I was not able to get into scrap, so I attempted to use card draw to speed up the game in my favor.
FlyingArrow on the other hand was able to get into scrap early, buying a Missile Bot and a Suppy Bot in his opening deck. He further purchased a Blob Wheel and an Explorer, which factor into our game at a key moment.
During the critical turn, FlyingArrow is holding his last 5 cards in his deck. They are: Blob Wheel, Explorer and 3 Scouts. I can see that he can produce 8 trade and take Brain World from the row.
I’m holding a Survey Ship and 4 Scouts. I drop the Survey ship and pull, another Scout. My purchase on this turn reveals a second Imperial Frigate.
My dilemma is that I really don’t want FlyingArrow to take down Brain World. I think that players, especially in a Vanilla game of Star Realms are trained to think that letting your opponent have Brain World is a big time no no.
I sacrifice my Survey Ship to make him toss one of those Scouts. He proceeds to buy both Imperial Frigates instead of Brain World.
At this point you’re probably imagining, “sure, what’s the big deal?”
Remember that my deck has zero scrap, which means I’m relying on speed. I’m about to reshuffle and rather than having that one additional draw to offset a Scout or Viper, I concede my advantage to stop an opponent who is already far along in his scrap strategy. In other words, I sacrificed my deck’s strategy rather than allowing my opponent to get (arguably) incrementally better in one he was already dominant in.
Lacking the ability to get Brain World FlyingArrow takes both Imperial Fighters. He has grabbed damage AND sped up his deck through the draw scrap ability of his Frigates. Were he to have bought Brain World, his combat weak deck would have added no damage.
You’ve got to be wondering how it ended.
In the last turn with FlyingArrow’s Authority at 8 and mine at 16, he plays this turn.
17 damage to put me at -1.
What was I holding? 3 Scouts, A Blob Destroyer and a Flagship. That’s 9 Damage, plus a draw.
What do you think? Would I have been better off letting him take a mid game Brain World? Add your thoughts in the comments below.
I think in this case it would have been the right call to let him have the brain world. It doesn’t add directly to his damage, but does speed up his deck significantly. However, you have the damage to make sure his brain world shouldn’t stand for more than 1 turn (very efficiently if you happen to get an allied blob destoyer), and since it’s an outpost it has a higher chance to bottom-deck than those frigates. Furthermore, frigates fit nicely into your draw/aggro deck. In fact, frigates might be one the most important late-game cards in an aggro deck because you can use them to bottom-deck starters in many cases.
There is a possible exception, of course. You didn’t specify where in your deck you were. Did you have a good chance of getting the brain world in your current deck? In that case, the right move was DEFINITELY to keep him away from it. However, if you have to wait an entire un-scrapped deck to have a chance to get it, then I think letting him just have it would be a better move.
Finally, another way to look at it in my opinion is from your opponent’s view. If you left him with 8 trade and the brain world, he pretty much HAS to spend that 8 gold on the brain world. Sure, he doesn’t really need it, but he definitely can’t let you get your hands on it. To me, that’s making him spend his gold inefficiently (of course he could always just choose not to buy the brain world and still take the two frigates).
Still fairly new to this game and I’m tired, so I’m sure my reasoning has some holes. Thanks for sharing this intricate and delicate situation.