caved to peer pressure decided to check out this very affordably priced (like $35ish, for real) COIN-like area control game. It’s mostly just fancy area control! There are up to four factions competing for “influence” over the various bases on the map, which are separated into regions that may occasionally score bonus points. Each faction has a series of unique abilities that unlock as the game proceeds. Oh, and the faction farthest back in scoring controls the Rocinante from the books/show, which gives them additional options between and during scoring.
The COIN-i-ness of the game comes in the river of event cards you pick from, either to spend as an event or as action points to do just map things (fly around, influence bases, rebuild destroyed fleets). The events are keyed to the factions, so if you use the card for its action points then the other factions, in initiative order, get to use the event itself. If you use the event then you go to the end of initiative. Simple, elegant, clever.
I played the OPA, which I read Wilhelm Fitzpatrick saying was “the hardest.” Well, I lost by 1 on our first game, I think largely on nobody really understanding the cumulative power of scoring lots of second and third places. The OPA’s core special thing is the ability to spread their influence everywhere outside of the Inner Planets without needing a fleet present. They’re super good at snaking seconds and thirds! I suspect those won’t be nearly as easy to grab the next time we play.
We only played three factions — United Nations, Mars, and the Outer Planets Alliance. Super curious to see what adding Protogen itself to the mix does.