The Opening Hand

The Opening Hand


When I start a game of Traveller, after I draw my first hand, what am I hoping for?

My top priority is normally , as and depend upon , and the skill tokens will routinely be necessary or give me more .  I want at least two  at the beginning of the game.  If I’m running the  to return  to play for one round, having extras to use for is even better.

Getting back the right card at the right time can be the difference between victory and defeat.

I don’t want too much redundancy in skills out of the opening hand unless my strategy is extremely focused on certain skills.  I try to keep in mind likely requirements I’ll see not only from my own deck but that exist in the card pool so that a  doesn’t just stop me, dead.   or or all have some extra value, currently.

If playing a piracy deck,  that give additional are essential, but  that get my ship to at least 2  are critical for random  corsairs and, possibly, for defense against piracy.

that give additional capability tokens can have a major impact on being able to complete , whether due to the  requirements or because of a  that creates an unexpected capability requirement.

There are that are more relevant early on.  Searching for cards or giving a continuous economic bonus are both much better right away.   are harder to remove from play than  or  out of the early sets, so they can be more reliable if drawn.

Call in a Marker, especially for the Scout, or  that produce tokens of either type are highly desirable to keep progressing towards victory while developing infrastructure.  With piracy, / bonuses become more valuable.  An that can get my ship to 2  to take out a corsair is something to hold on to.

An expensive but powerful way to clear complications.

 that removes or disables opposing  is good for slowing down an opponent … if … it can actually prevent a  from providing value at a reasonable cost.   that protects  from is very match up dependent but can probably be used effectively for  if opponents aren’t using  control effects.

While cost of cards at the beginning is not usually a concern, the more permanents I’m dropping on the first round, the more cognizant I want to be of when to slow down building infrastructure.

If I’m not putting much into play on round one, I’m more prone to using more of the cards in hand for  to cycle into permanents on round two.

Meanwhile, if I can’t play  I draw early because I lack the skill requirements, they are routinely fodder for popping out  and , or paying costs to generate abilities.

Besides discarding to get more , when does it seem better to discard to improve the hand for round one?  Against with no starting , it’s somewhat safer to ignore the possibility of bankruptcy.  Any  can be a pirate, but the Subsidized Merchant may gain a lot of  early on, and it may be better to draw into cards for the race or, alternatively, hunt for cards that will slow down the opponent’s  acquisition.  

If you are playing a deck that brings back cards, like the Scout often does, or that Replenishes cards, like the Subsidized Merchant, then tossing some cards may have little cost or be beneficial.  Are the starting  impossible to complete with your starting cards?  Are you hoping to pirate someone early and often?

Traveller is pretty forgiving when it comes to being able to play cards early and in terms of being able to dig into one’s deck to get at specific cards.  This impacts the optimal card proportions while building decks, but also gives us the ability to find a lot of the cards we would like to have early on.

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