Cryos

The Cryos faction begins the game as the optimal scoring partner for all the other factions, which reflects its monopoly on water. Cryos should aim to protect this monopoly, where possible, because if another faction manages to build a couple of water mines, Cryos will no longer be a necessary part of a successful alliance.

Because it has a monopoly on Water, Cryos may survive for most of the game on Trade alone, but this is unlikely to be enough to get to a good scoring position with a balanced portfolio of Utilities: Cryos will need an ally that can provide F and E, and it will either need to accumulate its own population or loyal colonosists, or ally with a populous faction like FF.

Cryos has two main challenges: getting E and getting F. The first priority in the early game is getting E, which can be used to build up an economic engine. Cryos has a Solar Array on the Moon, providing 4E per Round, which is safe from most military attacks (but vulnerable to missiles). Apart from this steady trickle of E, Cryos can be expect to face Energy poverty without the help of Trade. Military expansion is not a viable path to Energy – Cryos has very little chance of reaching the Energy-rich regions of the north – so it will need to ally with a faction that already has northern access, such as UE, or one of the equatorial factions that seems likely to get access. By providing that ally with water, the pair should be able to establish some Farms, get Food, and build up a military.

Although Cryos is situated away from many of the planet’s conflict zones, it can play an important role in the overall military picture. Cryos begins with a Skill Card that lets it build orbital Bombers on the moon, and these are very powerful. They can Bomb like ordinary Bombers, but they can return to orbit where they are safe from Ground Units. For attacks on any of the equatorial factions (FF, AI and SF), they can potentially tip the balance of power in favour of their chosen ally. A well-paced Bomber can easily take out 4 or 5 unshielded Mechs. Because of this, the AI and FF factions should be wary about yielding space to Cryos, and should launch their own Missiles at Cryos if it appears to be getting too dominant in orbit.

Although Cryos can trade for E, the main challenge for the Cryos player when it comes to end-game scoring is obtaining sufficient Food. If the farming factions deny Cryos Food, and monopolise trade, Cryos is in trouble. If Cryos retaliates by denying them Water, then the whole planet is in trouble – risking an AI solo. Cryos therefore needs to walk a fine line between extortion and hard negotiations. It should extract a good price for its water, and should expect to be given access to a farming region as part of any fair alliance structure, but it must also make sure its potential allies get what they need, as well. Any of the other four factions could make a potential alliance partner, and so the Cryos player should watch the rest of the planet carefully, throwing its resources behind a likely winner, while making sure it remains an indispensable part of the alliance.