Twilight Imperium: The Arborec

From the strategy guide written by Stefan Sasse

Racial Ability:

  • You may not build GF with your Space Docks.
  • Your GF have a build capacity of 1. You may not build units with Ground Forces that have moved during the same activation.
  • At the start of the Status Phase, place 1GF on one planet you control.

Starting Techs:

  • Antimass Deflectors
  • Stasis Capsules

Leaders: Admiral, Diplomat, General

Representative 1: Dirzuga Ohao (C) +3. If killed, this Representative returns to your hand after voting.
Representative 2: Dirzuga Mantasa (C) +4. Other Councilors do not receive bonus votes when voting.
Representative 3: Letani Miasmiala (S) +0. Choose another player. If he chose a Councilor, you may kill this spy to control his councilor during voting.

Racial Techs

  • Racial Tech 1: Bioplasmosis (3) At the beginning of the round, you may move one of your GF from one planet you control to another planet you control in an adjacent system.
  • Racial Tech 2: Spore Acceleration (5)  Increase the Build Capacity for your GF by one.

Starting Units:

  • 4 GF
  • 1 Cruiser
  • 1 Carrier
  • 2 Fighters
  • 1 PDS

Trade Agreements: 2,1

Homesystem:  Nestphar (3/2), Green Discount

Flagship: Duha Menaimon (10/6×2 / 1 / 5)  Build Capacity 5. You may not build units with this ship if it has moved during the same activation.

The Arborec are a race of plants, constantly growing and expanding throughout the known universe. They are unique in their way of looking towards not only the worlds themselves, but also in the way they procreate and build their things. Playing the Arborec means to adjust to these circumstances and abilities since playing them is like no other race in the game. They may share most of the mechanisms, but their racial abilities allow them for priorities no other race may set, and it allows them to boldly go where no other race may walk.

The most important aspect about this are their racial abilities. The first of these forbids to them to build GF with their Space Docks. The only ability for them to gain additional GF is to procreate from existing GF.

This is due to their second racial ability. All GF have a production capacity of one with which they may build all units available to the Arborec. It is important to note that the production capacity may not be pooled – producing new GF that way is double as expensive as with the other races, since you need to buy them one by one for a price of one resource each. You are not limited to the resource value on any planet, however – even a single, crappy planet like Tar’man may have a build capacity of twenty-three for the Arborec, provided they have enough GF stacked in it. And it’s a pretty good deterrent against any invasion attempts, too.

The third racial ability essentially ensures that you are never completely eliminated from the game, granting you one new GF on any one planet you control. This can be the basis to produce new GF there, perhaps with use of the Secondary of Production, and quickly bolster up a new force on any planet you control.

A downside for the Arborec surely is their HS. It only sports three resources and two influence, which makes it even worse than Sol’s HS, and the green discount for technology makes in no way up for it (given you don’t plan to research a green tech every round of the game, of course). Luckily for you, you don’t need production capacity on the planet itself, so you have to go for juicy stuff in other places.

The starting units of the Arborec are kind of a letdown, too – only one Carrier and four GF. With the Cruiser and Stasis Capsules you may reach another planet, of course, but it’s dangerous when playing with Distant Suns. Worse, while four GF are reasonably much for most races, the Arborec need them for production. That means, if they don’t hold the Production SC themselves, they need to postpone expansion until someone plays it – which won’t be possible most of the times. If the GF moves in the round, however, they may not produce, which makes the initial Arborec rounds awfully slow and painful.

Their starting techs, on the other hand, are good. With Antimass Deflectors, they can quickly access the important XRD Drives and other blue techs, and Stasis Capsules allow them to fly around with Cruisers and dump GF everywhere – which becomes much more powerful than with other races because if you don’t get rid of Arborec GF in your backyard quickly, they might soon grow into a numerable force. The Arborec have a bit of a harder time getting the red techs, granted, but in the middle game they will have to acquire some basics like the Hylar V Laser anyway. The most unique position for them is that they don’t need to research any yellow tech, at all. Enviro Compensators are totally useless for them, Sarween Tools too, and all the other stuff would require them to get these two. Since the Arborec will most likely produce with their GF anyway there is no reason to ever even look at the yellow techs. All other races need them, though – this gives them a nice advantage by concentrating on the juicy other techs.

The first racial tech of the Arborec, the “Bioplasmosis”, allows you to shift around GF between neighboring systems without actually sending ships in and without them to fall under the “no building after movement” clause. I’m not really sure whether this ability is worth the three resources and teching, though. I can say for sure, however, that the second racial tech “Spore Acceleration”, is a must buy. The Arborec need this tech asap. I can’t stress this point enough. Not even “Mirror Computing” for the Mentak is as important as this one. It will double the Production Capacity of the GF. That means that one GF can spawn two (not at the regular price) and that two GF on any planet will create a perpetuum mobile (since they can easily produce two new GF plus a ship or PDS or what-have-you with the Secondary of Production). This tech is awesome and makes production limits in the twenties easily possible for the Arborec, allowing them to build absurd masses of cheap units like Fighters, new GF and Destroyers.

Their Leader combination is decent, although not too useful. Exploiting the ridiculous building limits the Arborec can muster, the need for an Admiral is not really there. Given the sheer mass of GF, a General is also not a thing you really need. The Diplomat is better, best left on the HS to prevent enemy surprise landings and relieving you from the need to station a large force there. In the end, the Arborec don’t really need their leaders, and should you ever forget to use them, it will not be such a big deal as with other races.

The Representatives speak a different language. First, the Arborec have an undying Councilor, which allows them to use the bonus votes he offers more freely than most other races. Another Councilor grants bonus votes and cuts the ones of the others off, and the Spy allows for one crucial vote to control the vote from another player – you only need to hit a Councilor.

The Arborec flagship sounds nice in theory, allowing you a build limit of five with the ability to produce GF, too – but the money is better invested in “Spore Acceleration”, which relieves you from the need for such a ship entirely. Its lousy speed and mediocre fighting abilities make the choice easy.

In a game with the Arborec, you need to keep in mind that you will be ridiculously slow and weak in the beginning. Getting Production fast is a number one priority. Don’t hesitate to make good promises for it or bribe other players to use it in the second round – in the first one, they will want to move their ships out anyway. You don’t, since you will simply produce three GF for your three resources in the HS anyway. Exploit the fact that you later can build up large and larger fleets. You don’t need that many resources, but time. A long game is the Arborec’s friend. Plan accordingly and use your diplomatic skills to create a balance of power. Everything that prevents everyone from getting points early on is useful.

12 thoughts on “Twilight Imperium: The Arborec

  1. Interesting guides all in all, but is it intentionally that the description of the racial technology Bioplasmosis differs from the wording on the actual tech card? I’ve been looking through erratas to see if something I was unaware off had been changed.

    My tech card reads: “At the beginning of the Strategy Phase, you may move 1 Ground Force from a planet you control to a friendly or uncontrolled planet in an adjacent system. (Discard any Domain Counters on the planet).”

    It arguably makes the tech much stronger, especially in the first half of the game, that it can be used to colonize planets.

  2. I tend to agree with Jeppe. Bioplasmosis, if taken early, allows you to colonize 1 extra planet per turn for as long as there are nearby uncontrolled planets. This can have a significant impact on the Arborec’s otherwise-slow start, enough that I would consider taking Tech on the first turn, if possible, in order to be assured of getting it. It’s particularly important when playing with Distant Suns because if you land on a system and the DC kills your GF, you can take the planet anyway at the start of the next turn without investing a critical CC in retaking the system.

    The downside, in addition to the early resource commitment, is that since you’re likely to want Spore Acceleration as well, it will be very difficult to obtain tech-based Public Objectives, since you’ll have invested significant resources and two buys in colorless techs.

  3. I am pretty sure that you can’t build anything out of your GF (or the Flagship) with the Production SC, since it specifically refers to Space Docks. Note that the racial abillity never says that you can treat GF like SpaceDocks.

  4. Actually the official rules are quite clear on that. You CAN build from Arborec GF with the Production Strategy Card – as long as they are in a system with a Space Dock (and as long as they haven’t moved that Game Round).

    FAQ p. 12:

    “Q: Can Arborec Ground Forces be used with the Production
    Strategy Card?
    A: Yes. However, the Ground Forces must be in a system
    containing one or more friendly Space Docks.”

  5. This is due to their second racial ability. All GF have a production capacity of one with which they may build all units available to the Arborec. It is important to note that the production capacity may not be pooled – producing new GF that way is double as expensive as with the other races, since you need to buy them one by one for a price of one resource each. You are not limited to the resource value on any planet, however – even a single, crappy planet like Tar’man may have a build capacity of twenty-three for the Arborec, provided they have enough GF stacked in it. And it’s a pretty good deterrent against any invasion attempts, too.

    That is not true, 20 ground forces still just have 1 building capacity, if you want to increase it to two, you need the racial tech. So you can never build more than 2 (with tech) on a build action. If you want more than 2, that can move then you need the flashship which have 5.

  6. 20 Ground Forces would have 1 production capacity each, not very efficient for building ground troops or fighters but good for putting up a fleet really quick.

  7. I generally love Sasse’s guides to TI3, but I think he’s missed the mark a touch here.

    I’ve seen the same issue with Arborec players–they see that giant ability to build with GF, and then proceed as if that ability must and should be your only means of production.

    Yes, you want a giant wad of Arborec GF pumping out endless fighters for you, but you shouldn’t rely on that as your only strategy towards victory. Remember, you can still use Space Docks-GF produce on top of the production you’re already getting. Your Space Docks can build everything but new GF, including Mechanized Units for a solid invasion force.

    Even without their racial tech, the Arborec are a production powerhouse–you can build capital ships with your GF and fighters with your Space Dock(s), quickly assembling an enormous force. Yes, their racial tech is excellent–but it is also hideously expensive, and you may need those resources to expand and defend. Note that the Arborec begin the game incredibly well positioned to rush for Type IV Drive; you’re only two techs away, and both Neural Motivator and XRD Transporters are excellent when purchased early. After Type IV, you can pick up Advanced Fighters, especially valuable for a mass production race like the Arborec.

    Yes, if you can get a teched-up wad of twenty GF you’ll have a chance of dominating (at least until the University drops biological weapons on you), but don’t lose track of more conventional paths to victory.

  8. Just started to enjoy TI3 this past year and a half. And I have found your comments, observations helpful, thank you.

    Question, can the Aborec produce units, specifically non fighters when the space is occupied by another race? Do we treat the ground troops like a space dock in that situation?

  9. Just started to enjoy TI3 this past year and a half. And grateful for your comments, thank you.

    I asked Jeppe this same question, can the Aborec produce units, specifically non fighters when the space is occupied by another race? Do we treat the ground troops like a space dock in that situation, they can only then produce PDS units, ground troops, and mechanized units?

  10. Just started to enjoy TI3 this past year and a half. And I have found all of your comments & observations helpful, thank you.

    Question, can the Aborec produce units, specifically non fighters when the space is occupied by another race? Do we treat the ground troops like a space dock in that situation?

  11. Yes, you cannot produce ships and fighters when under a blockade.

  12. From the official errata (which you can find as a .pdf on the fantasy flight games website):
    “Q: Can the “Mirage” planet’s refresh Fighters that are under blockade (with a Space Dock or “Advanced Fighters”)? If so, what happens? A: No. You may not gain ships in a system that contains enemy ships. ”

    I interpret this as a replacement for the needlessly-specific space dock blockade rule in the base rule book.

    I think the spirit of the rule is even broader: Unless a space battle is about to happen (as part of an activation sequence), only one player can have ships in a system.

    Additionally, it’s meant to be difficult to spawn new ships AND attack with them before your opponent has had a turn to respond. Even when you can pull it off, you don’t get to build and attack for just one Command Counter; you have to use an extra CC, your Strategy Card pick, or some other limited resource.

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