If you haven’t played CO2 second chance (or the first edition of this game) then bear in mind that this is a co-op and a semi-co-op variant where players will try to stop climate change but may also be competing for the win! If you are giving this a go but struggling with strategies, then here are my thoughts:
During the Game:
Over Research; Climate change is about practical solutions and action. This game leans in to the point being made regularly in climate change discussions – you need to take action. It does this by the fact that over-research / focus on policies will mean an insufficient development of power plants and the inevitable end of the game through failing to achieve climate change.
Minimal Power Plants; The contradiction to this though is that power plants in the early game are less efficient for the player than any other steps. In fact, building power plants will get you points but the trading of carbon credits, money and technology cubes through the policies and infrastructure is more valuable – not least because you can enhance your technology knowledge through this process as well. So, despite the fact you need to build power plants to avoid a carbon crisis – no one player will want to do too much of the last stage!
Spread Out; Climate change effects the whole world and in this game that comes to life through the events. As a player you will be adversely effected for concentrating your efforts in a single region. It could be tempting to, in order to gain control of that region, but the costs of not diversifying are too high in my opinion.
Spend Regional Influence; As soon as you build a power plant in a region you may gain control of that region (if you built the most preferred resource). If so, spend the carbon credits of that region urgently. This is a great opportunity to use free resources from the game board which won’t be under your control for the whole game. Use them at the expense of your prior strategies that brought you carbon resources. If there are tech blocks in the region, don’t forget to jump on these for cheaper builds! Using free resources sounds simple, but I have watched plenty of players just carry on with their “most efficient path”.
Tech Income; Technology trees are used to generate income between rounds, but being third is the cut off for scoring any income. If therefore you are going to pick a tech, then try to pick ones other players are not following, or indeed try to make sure you are a clear winner or second place. Avoid tight contests where bonuses may put you in third just before those paths are scored!
Summits; Summits are really efficient ways of re-enforcing your position on a tech tree or making a meaningful step along another technology path that you had previously disregarded. Generally you won’t split your tech points from summits but if you did get multiple scientists onto one summit then it may be necessary so that you don’t overshoot a specific tech tree. Try to complete summits that are already close to maximise efficiency, and otherwise place them where players will have to go (given scientists on the board) or that you can easily make it to soon. Avoid leaving a scientist on a four score Summit for a long period!
Infrastructure Late Game; There’s a lot of points to be had from the last round, and it can be really challenging. When building the infrastructure, it can be transformed into a power plant before it gets back to your turn. It might even be worth saving the power plant or infrastructure building cards for this final late stage to grab the points when other players are struggling.
Keep Moving; Your scientists are given a move every turn – even moving them between policies can be efficient. You get this action every turn, and you make every effort to use it. Even at the end of the game – specifically you should sacrifice the scientists on the bonus cards at the end. Once a scientist is on those card it can’t move again. However, it’s an extra bonus resource or action that you would otherwise not get and the scientist won’t score any points at the end.
Tech Levels; Lastly, watch out for the need to be at a certain tech level to develop certain plants. As the first one is revealed that is at level two, many players will not have made the necessary tech steps. This is key to understanding whether players can jump ahead of you in access to that asset. If not, you have enough time to build on the infrastructure for it!