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Turning Wheel Theory

Is it better to use Turning Wheel Counters to gain +1 or +2 accesses as they accumulate or to save up until you can get a power turn with +4 or more?

The question arose for me after watching @beyoken’s latest video. At the 14:20 mark, Andy runs and steals an NAPD off the top of R&D while she has 2 Turning Wheel counters. At that point, R&D has 18 cards and 4 agendas are scored or stolen. As it turns out, if Andy would have cashed in the Turning Wheel, she would have won the game at that point as the next card was also an NAPD.

Of course, it is easy to say that would have been a good play in retrospect. But I’m wondering how you decide if it would have been a good play before learning what the unseen card was, and more broadly how do you decide when it is a good time to spend Turning Wheel counters?


It’d have to depend on what the matchup and board state is like for me. Usually I’d try to go for 3 accesses minimum since that is on par with Maker’s Eye / Legwork, and if I do manage to combo those cards with turning wheel, so much the better.

Turning wheel counters are usually best when either side is on match point, or when you’re up against glacier decks and need to make value runs to dig deep in R&D without breaking the bank.

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Here’s some things to consider:

  1. How often can I run the server? If it costs 2c to get in R&D and I can slap a Temujin on it and make 2c every time I run it, it’s probably better to just run R&D every turn and keep building up wheel counters for one power access. Seeing a second card (allowing you to skip running R&D next turn) isn’t that valuable if it’s easy to get into R&D every turn.

  2. Can I win? If you know the agenda density of R&D and you have a decent chance of winning by accessing multiple cards, it may be worth spending them now, especially if there’s a chance the corp could win soon.

  3. Can the corp win? If you’ve seen biotic in the corp’s hand, they need 2 points, and they drew past your R&D lock last turn, then they may be able to win. Using turning wheel counters to win now, or at least snipe the agenda the corp is trying to win with, is better than losing the game with unused counters!

Some other edge cases:
Using wheel counters with a legwork to ensure you see every card in HQ is valuable when you want to make sure you don’t miss an agenda in their hand.

Using wheel counters with Leela on R&D or HQ is great when the corp has advanced an agenda that you can’t access. Steal an agenda, then bounce their advanced agenda for a big tempo play!

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Special consideration has to be given to a run on HQ. A lot of the time it’s worth it to spend 6-8 counters to see everything in HQ, so that R&D lock ensures you win the game.


Yeah, I mentioned using the counters with a legwork, but it’s true that even without a legwork you could still see all of HQ with a ton of counters.