Hi I have played the game quite a bit now and in recent times won 5 in a row. I really like the game! I am not an expert by any means but here is my own opinion to why scientists are superior vs all but a game where everyone else starts as scavanager since that forces the scientists to go for carbon and even then it is a tight race.
1. Scientists gain a 2 for 1 tile advantage claim by planting on top of a resource with a resource building of that resource type.
2. Scientists save the cost of the other tile building - example the iron mine that is around 300 in money in early game.
3. Scientist save the raw good costs of the industry output building. This even scales with both science output and adjacency bonus! Adding 2x production from adjacency and 1x from science upgrades is a 3x savings in raw goods outputted, like a steel mine doing 0,5x3=1,5 output but not having to use 3 iron (so a saving on average of 60 assuming 20 iron cost.)
4. The other tile advantage mechanism in the game is 50% faster for scientist, the engineer upgrades. Thus they even snowball faster the tile advantage.
5. They are more immune to sabotages due to half the sabotage time making stoping them snowballing harder. On top of that using the patents for reducing sabotages even more and even if you do not protect your off world shipment buildings they are still not sabotaged for long.
The penalty to playing scientists is you are perhaps sligthly more fuel dependant by spreading out resources and the time it takes for them to transport is initially long you start near the resource you want. The other penalty is that it is sometimes harder to get adjacency bonuses. But not really in most games. (I usually have adjacency bonus for all but maybe 1-4 tiles so I would estimate around 80% have it.)
Compare this with the others:
Expansive, sure the reduced steel cost is nice and they can initally get to lvl 2 quickly and get a tile for free - but they will simply not keep up with scientists as 2,5 building they build on top of a resource recclaims the tile advantage of being 1 step ahead on the upgrade curve, and cost wise while having less initial cost every second the game ticks scientists save huge raw goods costs. Finally with a faster tech upgrade they easily surpass Expansive.
Scavanger - while having faster black market place access gives them speed in getting claims from black market quick - it does not allow a quick sabotage effectivly since scientists have half the sabotage time. The carbon cost is nice however for all buildings except the glass and electronic building they actually need 50% more carbon than the opposite steel would have been in cost. While the output of carbon gain reach 3x that of a single steel factory and normaly is 2x, - 3 steel factories adjacent are at same level as 3 seperated carbon factories. Also steel is much much more in high demand, so in most games if not huge steel surpluss, or if someone is doing pleasure dome strats (more power requirements and power require carbon) then carbon is low demand. It is only in the late game again carbon picks up demand again since glass require carbon to build and electronic require carbon to output goods.
Robotics : To me the weakest faction. Yes they use less food water and oxygen but at the start of the game this is very minor (0,2 food 0,1 water and 0,05 oxygen) vs 0,1 electronic. The power instead of fuel is quite nice and means robotic can spread out. The glassless upgrades are also nice as glass is expensive (around 2400 money in tier 2 to 3 upgrade) however as the game progresses the outpuit of electronic is quite costly (remember it chews up 0,25 aluminum, 0,5 carbon and 0,25 silicon for a mere 0,25 in electronic) and even with many bonuses this low level even at 4x each factory is doing 1 in output only for big costs as well. Electronic tends to spike when its needed for off world, pleasure dome and such stuff so the only thing I see robotics got going for it is the reduced fuel costs and since they already are pushing for power a pleasure dome strategy seems to fit them well (-1 power per pleasure dome and it starts with a base of +42 profit per tick that is actually really good in a cheap power game but each additonal pleasure power plant reduced the profit by 10 and ofcourse if you do the patent upgrade you can get very very profitable pleasure domes early.) So to me only if they do pleasure dome and power early and nobody else does it can robotics have a chance at all to snowball. They however do not have any tile advantages and no advantages in disrupting the opponent this is why I think they are currently the worst.
Now stuff I wish for in the game:
Quick button to buy or sell shares from player 1 to 8 etc. (for example shift 1 or shift + alt 1 for player 1 or anything like this)
Autobuy supply button red when if buying auto will cause a loss when compared with current sale price x output of the said product it is autosupply purchasing for. This will make the newbies not lose money on autosupplies.
Additional mechanisms for end game than off world. I like the idea of a victory condition to gather huge amount of resources on mars. Build a super project that costs thousands of resources that causes some profits on pair with off world perhaps? The reason is if your scientist and doing off world and you get it up first your unstoppable. You can be sabotaged but not for long. if you got goon squads not for very long. Even scavanger does not stand up to this.
Hotkey for sharing resource in team game maybe (Whatever resource your hovering mouse if you press the key it will share, if in the top left or if on an extractor or anywhere else you find the resource.)
I know this is coming but ranking is really important since some games now are very easy but vs players of same level the game is more balanced and you do not see power spike to 300 etc like you do in a game with new players.
Stats: I like that you have staistics in this game. Would be cool if you can add weekly, monthly or yearly statistics as you can compare your progress over time.
Cool MP stuff:
Make world event on a server either a web based or program it on the hosting server (if you allow this in your budget for the game. I think this game is going to sell like hot cakes so it will be fine.) that pits the faction up against each other in a MP sort of campaign that is weekly monthly or yearly. For example you can fight economically over territories and every time a scavanger wins it wins for its faction. There could be scenarioes for the different maps just as in single player. This will create huge varity in MP and give a reasons for MP scenarioes, it will create a lot of fun and longitivity for MP as well since you will be fighting over territories and for glory. If you want to develop on this you can add clans and even inside a faction they can compete to be the best for the faction etc. Basically what works in single player for creating fun and longitivity would work just as well in MP.
- (Perhaps add a graph for how much there is of each supply when building a new one. I am back and forth on this as experts already look the map while playing to calculate roughly what is out there in output and supply already but perhaps for newbies it would be nice to see how much power is around and how much is used. Then again it is a skill in the game so perhaps not a good idea to make training wheels for this. (Maybe add it as a feature if they are playing on a low difficoulty.) - )
PS, Soren: I was eysteinthewise the dude that did a golden age all victory conditions same turn in civ4 ^^ Thanks for creating this amazing game and I am a big fan of your company and wish you guys all the best.