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Blacksburg Tactical Research Center is a little game company nestled in the Appalachian foothills, slowly and tediously handcrafting the finest role-playing games and supplements for a small audience of die-hard fans, and for new converts acquired through word-of- mouth advertising. We do it because we love the work. Though managing to get some non-game fiction published would be nice too...

solitude02042018

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Back Up & Ready To Play!

Hello fans and friends! After gaining self-awareness the site staged a protest. After some short deliberations and promise of chocolate-ship cookie simulations, the site agreed to get back to serving up the awesome BTRC content you all love.

I will be checking in on a weekly basis to make sure the site is happy, the supply of cookies is replenished, and things are working normally.

Again, apologies for the hiccup! Thanks for being fans of BTRC!

 

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Random News

soft landing strategies

Part of a winning strategy in soft landing is making the most of your nation choice, by itself and in the context of the other nations in that particular game. Any nation can win in any game. As the author, I think Japan is a little too strong and should probably be nixed from the mix until I tweak its stats, but that's a different matter. The play of the game is going to be roughly the same in any game. The more developed nations start off with low scores, but they are industrial powerhouses and will win if the game runs long enough. So, if you have a less developed nation, you have to make the most of your early lead. Less developed nations that have a military should probably start the game with one, just because it requires four game resources to acquire, something that you will have less opportunities to do later on. If (well, when) you add stress tokens to the Catastrophe zones, try to add them in places the developed nations do not. This makes it more likely that a Catastrophe of that type will affect them.

A general tactic is to never end a turn on the same score point as a population stress icon if you can help it. If you get knocked back a point of score, your next point gain will put you on that icon again and you will have to add another stress token to a Catastrophe zone. Never a good thing.

Whoever goes last in a turn has a natural, temporary alliance with whoever goes first. For instance, if I go last and have Market Manipulation, I can make a deal with whoever the first player in the next round is. I can say "hey, I'll make the market favorable for you if you will use Foreign Aid to remove one of my stress markers from a Catastrophe zone."

Whoever goes first has the best shot at getting points for use of a nation's special abilities, which of course they need, since if you are going first it means you have the lowest score. You will want to use special abilities for maximum point benefit, but only if it also gets you a game benefit, and preferably a penalty for someone else. Military and more likely, Market Manipulation are the big ones for this. If someone has a lot of a particular game resource and you can push its market value to zero, it means they cannot sell it to buy other things. If there is something that they need and do not have, you can also push the price of that item up. You always want to make other people's use of the market as inefficient as possible. If nothing else, tempt people into using the Black Market so they generate economic or political stress tokens. Practically speaking, the shifts in the market from player to player means that your biggest influence will be on the next player in sequence, so they are the one you should be looking at.

Catastrophes, especially the more frequent minor ones, are a major part of play. You want to avoid getting blamed whenever possible, and shift blame to as many other people as possible. Military is the main way to do this, and works absolutely best if you are the last player in a round to use it. You would try to shift tokens to have multiple players tied for the largest quantity in a zone, or at the very least, make sure that you have the fewest.

New Era Tech research is highly variable. If the game only has one tech-strong nation (especially Japan), odds are very high that this is how the game end trigger will happen, and the score boost that nation gets will probably give them the victory. Other nations need to recognize this and work to mess with that player or force a Catastrophe-based game end trigger. If multiple nations are in the tech race, how things go depend on whether they are backstabbing each other. If the player placing New Era Tech tokens uses their ability to remove someone else's tech token, this slows down the overall research pace. Also, with more players in the tech race, the final benefit to the winning researcher is going to be smaller, meaning that less developed nations still have a chance at victory if the New Era Tech resolves early.