Originally, my plan was to write a single longish article with a few pointers each for specific types of Consume strategy. As these things are wont to do however, it grew. Before long, I realized it would be better to do a separate, easily digestible article for each type of Consume strategy. I’m starting this series-within-a-series here with power Consume strategies.
Note that I am not writing with Rebel vs. Imperium in mind yet. I am rapidly racking up experience, but I’m not ready to write with any authority about it yet.
Key cards: Tourist World, Alien Toy Shop, Galactic Trendsetters, commodity worlds
A power Consume strategy tries to outpace other players by playing efficient Consume powers that score more than one VP per good. The point is to save tempi, building a powerful Consume engine more quickly than normal. When it works right, you finish the game by exhausting the VP pool before your opponents can hit their stride.
Typically, you want to try a power Consume strategy when you start the game with one of Tourist World, Alien Toy Shop or Galactic Trendsetters, plus a commodity world or two. The general idea is to play the commodity world, then Produce and Trade for the cards you need to play the other parts of your engine, although Alien Toy Shop reverses this order.
Alien Toy Shop is an especially nice start for this strategy, since it sets up a Trade for enough cards to play another key piece or two of the engine. You can even continue to Trade repeatedly until you feel you are well set up, although you must be careful not to put off consuming too long and diluting the power of your plan. Lost Species Ark World is also a nice start, although it is slower than Alien Toy Shop, since it costs more and needs to Produce before you can Trade.
Galactic Trendsetters is the least useful of the three power consumers to start with, since it only generates 4 points (with Consume ×2) per round and it does not include production capacity (a la Alien Toy Shop). It does make an excellent complement to one of the other two key Consume powers, though, allowing you to Consume for eight or ten points with only two or three goods.
Commodity worlds are important to this strategy because none of the key Consume powers generate cards. Picking up a couple extra points from builds, hopefully while continuing to grow your Consume engine, can make the difference between victory and defeat. It may even be worth refilling your hand with a Trade before you start your point engine rolling, especially if you think your opponents are ready to do some serious building right away.
Other Cards of Note
Galactic Studios can be useful in a power Consume strategy, but it is better suited to novelty and junk ball strategies, since it has a useful Consume power. It does work well as a complement to Alien Toy Shop, though.
Mining League and Galactic Genome Project can also be used as the engine of a power Consume strategy. However, it is harder to get them rolling because of the extra cost of setting them up.
A Colony Ship is not necessary, but it is a small blessing, since it can help you put down Lost Species Ark World, Galactic Studios, Tourist World or Galactic Trendsetters cheaply.
If you are playing more than one colour of world, Diversified Economy may be worth playing just for the card generation, although it is a luxury, not a key element.