Every time I play this I love it even more.
Got to play a full four-player game of it on Sunday, and got to teach it to a couple new players. The 14 year old got pretty frustrated with the scoring arc, though, since he had built what appeared to be an insurmountable lead using a pretty common scoring combo (build a federation and take the 12VP token, build a QIC generating engine, and keep scoring that 12VPs every turn) but ended up close to dead last when the real scoring takes place, way at the end.
I ended up within 5 points of first place, and the actual swing took place on the very last play of the very last round, with a vast, sprawling federation formed using like 10 power to buy a galaxy-wide satellite network. I was sure I’d buttoned it up but…no.
This is, not surprisingly, totally what happens to me when I play Terra Mystica as well. I’ve been playing TM on BGA with a few friends because I thought playing Gaia Project would give me more insight and training, but no. I still can’t play TM to save my life.
There’s just something that clicks for me in Gaia Project that doesn’t click in Terra Mystica. I think it’s a more straightforward metaphor, personally. I can eyeball the map better, I like that there are actual tech tracks you’re improving (rather than improving your relationship to the four elemental gods in TM and getting random goodies), I like how the individual technologies work. It’s got so many quality-of-life improvements.