How to Play Beta Colony

How to Play Beta Colony


Hi!
It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and
this is Beta Colony, a dice-rolling, area
control game set in outer space for 2-4 players.
Let me show you how to play!
In Beta Colony, Earth has been taken over,
and some Earthlings have fled to the distant
planet Victus.
You and your friends are here to help develop
the three colonies of Victus to gain the confidence
of these exiled space settlers.
You’ll be bouncing around between the 7 different
moons, ships, and stations orbiting Victus,
gathering enough fuel and resources to build
pods on the three different colonies, gaining
influence as you do.
You may even be able to build some special
monuments, like Space Big Ben, or Space The
Statue of Liberty, to inspire the settlers.
Mechanically, the starting player rolls his
or her four dice, and all other players have
to adjust their dice to match that roll.
Each player spends a pair of dice at a time
to move their ship and activate one of the
different moons, ships, or stations around
Victus.
By the end of three cycles of three rounds
each, whoever has settled the most crew members
on each of the different colonies, compared
to whoever has the least settlers, gains points
toward a final score, with the hope of winning
the confidence of the people and, ultimately,
the game.
TAKING A TURN
This player marker denotes the starting player,
who rolls four dice – green, red, black, and
blue.
All other players follow suit, matching their
dice, colour and number, to that exact roll.
Beginning with the starting player and going
clockwise, each player spends two dice of
their choice.
The first die moves your ship in a clockwise
direction around Victus to one of these seven
spaces.
The second die activates whatever function
that space provides.
And if the activation die matches the colour
on that space, you get a bonus.
You can mine these three moons for six different
resource cubes – plants and steel, food and
palladium, and polymer and water.
Your first die gets you there, while your
second die determines how many of that resource
you get – for example, either one green or
one yellow resource cube for anything from
1-4 pips, or two cubes of either colour for
spending a die with a 5 or a 6 on it.
What’s more, if you spend your green die at
the moon of Gan De, you get one Confidence
Point towards winning the game.
It’s the same story for these other two moons,
Jyo and Nebra – spend a die to get there,
spend a die to activate it, and take resources
depending on the number of pips on that second
die, and potentially an extra point if you
use the right colour to activate it.
A note about travelling: your ship always
moves in a clockwise orbit around Victus,
and you have to use all of the pips on your
travel die.
So if you spend a 3 to move, you’re moving
3 spaces.
It’s not up to 3 – it’s 3 exactly.
You can spend a die to land on the Ridback,
and then spend a second die to buy these red
fuel canisters.
You get 1, 2, or 3 fuel, depending on the
value of your activation die.
You can spend these fuel tokens to adjust
the value of the pips on your dice up or down,
and the number wraps around.
So you can spend 2 fuel on a 6 to turn it
into an 8 going up, or a 4 going down.
You can spend 1 fuel on a 1-pip die to turn
it into a 2, or back around to a 6.
The big show are these two orbiting stations,
called manufactories.
Spend one die to get there, and then another
die to buy one of these randomly-dealt pods
to place on one of the three colonies on Victus.
The number of pips on your activation die
decides which row you can purchase a pod from.
So a 1 or a 2-pip die means you can buy either
of these pods, while a 6-pip die means you
can go shopping from this row.
But you’re further limited by the resource
cubes you own.
You have to pay 1 resource cube of a matching
colour to buy a pod – spend a green cube for
these ones, a red cube for these ones, and
so on.
You replace the pod with a face-down tile.
Then, on the same turn, you further have to
pay a resource cube to place the pod you just
bought on one of the colonies.
You pay a cube based on the colour of the
empty hex where you want to place the pod
– a yellow cube here, a blue cube here, and
so on.
So it costs 2 cubes total to buy and place
a pod.
The pods earn you influence points, which
is a separate points system from the Confidence
Points you’re earning down here at the bottom
of the board.
The Influence Points move your marker around
these three tracks, one per colony, depending
on where you place the pod.
The number on the pod determines how many
influence points you get.
You get one bonus point if you place the pod
in this inner ring, and more bonus points
for every pod of the same colour in a contiguous
line or cluster.
If there’s already a contiguous cluster or
line of three like-coloured pods, you can’t
place a fourth.
That pod’s gotta go somewhere else instead.
You move your marker on the track surrounding
the colony where you placed your pod, according
to however many influence points you just
earned, picking up whatever prizes you pass
or land on.
The pod itself may also give you various perks
and prizes.
Then, you place one of your crew members on
the pod.
Some pods let you place two crew members,
and some high-value pods prevent you from
placing any.
Hey, look!
It’s the rules gremlin, come to warn us of
something tricky.
In this case, it’s not a rule, but a design
problem.
Beta Colony contains cubes and tiles that
are very similar in colour.
I’m not colour-blind, but this game made me
think i am!
The game has pink, orange, and red cubes.
And here’s what one of the colony pods looks
like.
Is that pink, orange, or red?
If you guessed red, you’re right, but if you
guessed one of the other colours, you’re also
right, because, like, look at this.
Here’s how to keep it straight: red cubes
buy red pods, and pink cubes buy pink pods.
There ARE no orange pods for sale – only yellow
pods, which you buy with yellow cubes.
Orange cubes are only for placing pods on
orange spaces in the colonies, and for buying
statues and buildings, which we’ll see in
just a sec.
The last moon you can visit, Azophi Nexus,
lets you take one resource cube of your choice,
and a fuel, regardless of the pip value of
your activation die.
Or, you can construct a building or a statue
on one of the colonies to inspire the people’s
confidence in you.
There are four statues you can construct,
each of which gives you a meta point bonus
at the end of the game.
Each statue costs three artifact tokens.
You can earn the artifact tokens by building
certain pods, or by gaining influence and
passing certain spaces along the tracks.
If you’re short on artifacts, you can spend
regular resource cubes to buy the building
on the top of the deck.
Buildings give you a point boost at the end
of the game, and sometimes another, more immediate
perk.
Grab the card and place it face down next
to your player mat.
You get any applicable bonus now, and any
listed Confidence Points at the end of the
game.
When you build one of these structures, you
take the matching token, and then pay a cube
to place it in one of the three colonies.
You can only construct buildings and statues
in the outer ring of any colony.
As with a colony pod, you place a crew member
on the structure.
Each player can only build a maximum of two
of these cultural achievements in a single
game.
At any time on your turn.
you can also spend an artifact as wild stand-in
for any coloured cube.
If at any point you want or need to take a
mulligan on your turn, you can spend two dice
to earn a single fuel token.
Your spaceship stays where it is.
There are a couple of symbols on the influence
tracks around the colonies that supply special
rewards.
This one gets you any face up colonization
pod, which you then build for free.
This one gets you a building or a statue for
free – you don’t even have to pay a cube to
place it.
This one lets you put an extra crew member
on any colony pod – whether it’s yours or
someone else’s.
There are three cycles in the game, and each
cycle has 3 rounds.
At the beginning of the game, three cycle
cards are randomly dealt to these spaces.
They each have an ongoing effect that activates
in the first round of the cycle, and expires
by the end of the cycle, and a scoring condition
that gets paid out at the end of the cycle.
SCORING
At the end of the game, each unused artifact
token you’ve hung onto is worth a point.
Flip over any building or artifact cards you’ve
purchased and score the points on the card.
The four statues give you points for the number
of crew members you have around the inner
rings of each colony, each pod in a contiguous
chain, each resource you have left over, and
each settler on a pod colour of your choice,
to a maximum of 12 points per statue.
Now, you score for area control in each colony.
Score the colonies one at a time.
You look at the number of colonists you have
vs. the number of colonists the weakest player
has, and the difference gets you points.
So here on Xi’An, you have 7 colonists, and
the least represented player has 2, for a
difference of 5.
On Thebes, you have 5 colonists, while the
weakest player has 4, so it’s a difference
of 1.
On Cuzco, you are the weakest player.
The difference can’t go negative, so the gap
for this colony is zero.
The gap between you and the weakest player
on each colony earns you a sliding scale of
Confidence Points.
When you tally up those scores, including
any confidence points you earned along the
way from the influence tracks, from building
certain pods, from using the correctly coloured
activation dice at various moons and orbiting
stations, and from satisfying the different
cycle scoring conditions, you’ll get your
final Confidence Point total.
Whoever has the most points has earned the
confidence of the settlers of Victus, and
wins the game!
SETUP
To set up the game, put the board on the table.
Deal 1 random card from each of the three
cycles to these spots.
Shuffle the pods face-down and deal some out
to these spaces.
Put the fuel, artifact tokens, and resource
cubes nearby.
Randomly choose a starting player, who takes
the start player Ridback token.
Then the last player in turn order gets to
choose a player mat.
Each mat has two different special abilities
– anything from getting extra resources to
changing a certain die to whatever number
you want.
All other players draft a player mat, with
the starting player choosing last.
Everyone chooses a colour and takes a spaceship,
fifteen crew members, four score tokens, one
fuel, four dice – one red, one black, one
green, and one blue – and two random resource
cubes from the supply.
Again in reverse turn order, each player places
their ship on an empty space orbiting Victus.
This is the only time in the game that you
can’t have multiple player ships on the same
space.
Put one scoring token on each of the colony
tracks, and the last one on the confidence
points track.
Shuffle the cultural achievement cards and
place them face up, alongside all 4 face-up
statue cards.
The first player starts the game by rolling
his or her dice, and the other players rotate
their dice to follow suit.
And now, you’re ready to play Beta Colony!
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