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Dune» Forums » Variants

Subject: Rex-like Movement variant as alternative to Advanced Combat Support rss

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Matt Smith
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Background:
I make no secret that I dislike the advanced combat support rules; the reasons for that are not the purpose of this thread. I'd like to explore a movement variant inspired by (gasp!) Rex that I think would be an easy workaround.

In Rex movement occurs before shipment, and shipment costs are based on occupancy: 1/token into an empty or friendly location, 2/token if another faction is already present. This means that instead of paying extra spice to make your tokens more effective in combat, you instead pay more when you ship reinforcements directly into a combat zone. It is this ruling I think would be an interesting alternative to the Advanced Combat Support rules.


Intended Benefits:
By normal Dune rules shipment is almost always done directly to strongholds, and almost all battles take place in those strongholds. This means that most of the map is unused. By changing up the shipment costs, the rest of the map is made more available and so hopefully we will see more action outside the cities.

This method also rewards players for getting tokens onto the map before using them for combat, rather than a last-minute dump of reinforcements from space. Staging in advance is much less expensive than the usual "well then I ship down 12 tokens into Carthaag." Players are encouraged to play the long game and plan ahead.

The math should be easier for players who have difficulty wrapping their heads around half-increments of strength. In fact, the combat round itself will play exactly as in the basic game, since the extra costs of reinforcement have already occured.


Concerns:
It is possible that this ruling could cost some players MORE spice than the normal ACS rules, especially if they still rely on the last-minute-token-dump. A player who plans ahead better and gets their tokens on the map prior to using them in combat will take advantage of cheaper costs. I don't actually consider this to be bad!

I expect the Guild's income from shipment costs will change--probably resulting in a increase of income since money that would be spend on token support instead goes to them! Then again, the more prudent player could end up paying the Guild less.

If the Guild is still allowed to offer discounts on shipping, then this does mean that they are effectively able to offer discounts on combat support. Not sure how that should work of that is even a problem.


Scenarios:
One:
During turn 1, the player ships 8 tokens onto the board to position them outside Carthaag; during turn 2, the player adds reinforcements to attack Carhaag with a strength of 12.

Advanced Combat Support cost: Ship 8 tokens into Carthaag [8], move into Imperial basin. Then ship 4 more into Carthaag [4] and move the 8 back into Carthaag. 12 spice to support. 20 spice total.

Rex-Like Movement cost: ship 8 tokens into the imperial basin [8]. Then move those into Carthaag and ship 4 tokens into Carthaag [8]. 16 spice total.


Two:
Player wishes to ship 12 stength of tokens into Carthaag for an immediate attack.

ACS: 12 to ship + 12 support = 24 spice total.
RLM: 24 to ship 12 into a contested area = 24 spice total.


Three:
Player ships 12 tokens this turn into a neutral location, to attack at 12 strength next turn.

ACS: 12 to ship + 12 support = 24 spice total.
RLM: 12 to ship = 12 spice total.


Conclusions:
I do not believe that this variant can result in a player paying more than normal, however they could pay less as they are rewarded for planning ahead and shipping tokens to the planet before using them for combat. It also rewards the first players as their shipping and reinforcement costs will be less than those going later in the turn (who also have more information). With the added simplicity of play, I feel this is a good trade off.

Playtesting is in order!
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Samy
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You should check out the Rex-Dune hybrid Glenn ran, and which I played in, which used this modified movement/shipping order, and other changes. The Guild shipping income was capped at 1 spice per token. I thought it worked quite well, certainly nothing felt broken. We also used the Rex movement allowances, although the max anyone could move was 3, not 4 like Rex (base+ornithopter or Fremen total).

Game thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1406535/dune-rex-game/page/...

Pre-game thread: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1386462/dune-rex-game

Game-map album: http://imgur.com/a/bTrvR/layout/horizontal#0
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Matt Smith
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Neat! Hopefully he will share some of his observations.

I see that Glenn only allowed the Guild to collect 1 spice per token on any shipment, so that solves the problem of their benefiting from combat costs. I like that.

And Glenn also ruled that costs to the desert are always 2 spice/token, regardless of occupancy. I understand the reason--deserts have no easy landing zones! Cool.

How about the Fremen? They ship for free, so therefore get free combat support which is great. However, with the reversed order (move then ship) this means that they cannot take advantage of their iconic Ship+Move directly into almost half the board! Was their "spawn zone" increased to account for this? I am considering allowing them to ship to within 3 spaces of the Great Flat since they cannot do their Ship+Move thingy.
 
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Samy
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That's an interesting point regarding the Fremen range. However, the move-ship order is also delaying other factions' attacks and plans, unless they really want to pay 2 spice per token landing directly into a contested stronghold, or a spice blow far form their stronghold. Remember also in that game (and Rex) that everyone moves 2, and the Fremen move 3 (actually 4 in Rex, too much I think), so setting up a staging spot one turn ahead of time can actually give quite a few options.

On the other hand, one change I've overlooked is that in regular Dune *all* non-stronghold spaces cost 2 to ship to, so you *really* want to either attack a stronghold or ship-move from one in regular Dune. Whereas in Rex, it's either 1 for occupied or 2 for unoccupied, with Glenn's game tweaking that deserts cost 2 like in the original Dune. So there's a lot more places to stage attacks from for non-Fremen factions, which might put the Fremen at a slight disadvantage compared to the original dynamic. Does an increased Fremen base move of 3 make up for it?

If you're not increasing movement rates, though, things look even worse for the non-Fremen factions I think, unless they have ornithopters. Which might make a case for leaving the Fremen ship range as is. The Rex shipping change might not make sense without increasing the ranges though.

So, there's a lot of little changes that can add up to a different dynamic, a different tempo of attacks and threat ranges. Does this mean you don't need to increase the Great Flat shipment range? Not sure, but it's not straightforward.
 
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Glenn McMaster
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Jormungandr83 wrote:
Neat! Hopefully he will share some of his observations.

I see that Glenn only allowed the Guild to collect 1 spice per token on any shipment, so that solves the problem of their benefiting from combat costs. I like that.


That worked well. Having played Rex twice in both cases the Guild had too much money, so a cap seemed reasonable.

Quote:
And Glenn also ruled that costs to the desert are always 2 spice/token, regardless of occupancy. I understand the reason--deserts have no easy landing zones! Cool.


Partly that, but also I wanted to create a further advantage to each rock territory, that these could be used as bases to menace nearby strongholds.

Quote:
How about the Fremen? They ship for free, so therefore get free combat support which is great. However, with the reversed order (move then ship) this means that they cannot take advantage of their iconic Ship+Move directly into almost half the board! Was their "spawn zone" increased to account for this? I am considering allowing them to ship to within 3 spaces of the Great Flat since they cannot do their Ship+Move thingy.


No alterations for Fremen were implemented or considered.

On revivals, the 5-tokens per faction worked well, but the one leader per faction did not. Dune's rule is clearly superior on that one.
 
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