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Chris Sandman
Germany
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Hi,

I just thought about a little twist that may increase the already huge amount of variabilty even more and could function as a fun variant! I would be happy if the community discusses about ways to implement this general idea without making it OP or negligible. I think that it is a good idea in general as it could be integrated quite easily but influence gameplay noticeable without changing the game too much.


So here is the main idea:

How about adding a fifth cult track that also introduces (3?) new FAV-tiles?


Before we start: there I would like to underline that there will not follow a specific suggestion but just some general thoughts that hopefully start a discussion about how this might work.

Some random thoughts:
The current culttrack has the following implications:

Advancing on the cult track may
a. contribute a good amount of VP to your endgame score
b. generate up to 8 Pw (excluding acolyts here) per culttrack and player during the game via pure cultadvancements (additional pw-production via FAVs possible)
c. generate you additional income via roundbonuses

Advancing on the cult track is generally reached via
d. priests that are sent to the cults for 3,2 or 1 step(s)
e. FAVs that are taken when an TE or SA is built
f. TWs, Fav6 (Water2) and special faction abilities (e.g. Auren)


⇨ Another culttrack increases the relative importance of cult advancements as there would be more points distributed through cults in relation to other sources of VP that mainly result from increasing your network

I do think that the additional 14VPs (8,4,2) that would get produced through the new culttrack would not be that big of a deal (less than 4VP per player in a 4player game) if the chances to grab those VPs would be evenly distributed among factions, which is obviously not the case as there are factions that are more prone to be strong on the cults (e.g. Cultists, Chaosmagicians, Swarmlings, Auren, Yetis, ... ) and others that are generally not (Fakirs ☺, ...).

My biggest concern right now (without being specific at all^^) is that an additional Cult track means that the already very popular TE-opening may become even more popular which is not desireable as one thing that I love about TM is that all games vary a lot from each other which obviously contradicts scripted openings.
However, the introduction of new FAV-tiles may open new ways to strategize depending on their nature.


Personally I would like the 5th Culttrack to be of a slightly different nature than its counterparts, which makes the balancing easier and the whole thing more interesting

- It is already different as you cannot benefit from round bonuses on this culttrack as these simply do not exist
- The current iconography of the things mentioned under f. implies that the 5th cult is not affected by those cult advancement possibilities (yeah, the Tw that gives +2 on „all“ cults is not becoming ultra-strong but probably still stays a favourite)

> Which both makes the new cult less interesting.

In order to be on par with the other cults there have to be other ways to incentivize people to not forget about cult number 5.

Possibilities that directly come to mind:
- Make this cults FAVs stronger!
- Give a different or stronger resource or pw-generation for step advancement!
- Give more points!
- What about a completely new feature for this cult, like a reward that gets awarded after every round instead of just at the end of the game or something else? (...)

In my opinion the most interesting would be some „completly different“ FAVs. One nice thing about TM is that you have different factions with different abilities. You like to be special. Those FAVs do make you special as well (especially if you manage to do some damage without FAV11^^).

As I am running out of time (weekend just started and thus i have to leave now^^) and already wrote a lot without saying too much, I will stop now. I just posted this very basic and unspecific idea as I would like to encourage a fruitful discussion. I would be happy to hear any ideas how to implement this very basic variant in a fun way.


Some random questions that come to my mind:
1. Should there be VPs awarded for the order of players at the end of the game and do they look the same (8,4,2)?
2. Does the track have the same pw-production between (the same) steps or a completely different resource production?
3. The one that you were waiting for: What do the FAVs look like?
4. Does the track have the same number of steps?
5. Do Priests work more efficient in this cult (remember that the supply for employment of priests just got a boost. No Priests that desperately crave for employment anymore ...)

Finding some fun FAVs should be easy. The real challenge is to not hurt the delicate balance of TM and make something interesting and worthy out of this small addition.


I just want to underline again that this is just a fundamental idea and nothing special as it is right now.


I will post something about my >a bit more specific< ideas after the weekend. At least if this thread is not already punshed to death until that day! =)

PS: Special thanks to Loon! Although you had nothing to do with this „blabla“, I have to admit that your excellent new map Loon Lakes inspired me to think about other changes that might breath some fresh air into this still amazing game.

Edit: Wording
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Matt Shields
United States
Portland
Oregon
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My gut reaction here is that if you added a 5th cult track it should function just like the other ones.

Even though the iconography on the tiles only shows Earth/Fire/Air/Water, I'd be inclined to say that the Water2 favor, and the cult track bonus tile, and the Auren special ability should all apply to the new cult track as well. Same thing with the two town tiles. Yeah, that would make those two town tiles slightly more powerful, but I don't think it would break anything.

I'd just say to interpret the current icon to refer to all cult tracks.

I think the way those tracks work has proven to be pretty balanced. If you make the new one function totally differently, you're more likely to end up making it over or under powered.
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James Wolfpacker
United States
North Carolina
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There is another topic on this Variant sub-section which talks about new cult tracks also. However, it was not in addition to the 4 that were there. They were supposed to be "corrupted" versions of the 4 cults all with a different set of favors etc. You setup the game by replacing the original cult track with the "corrupted" ones randomly. I think that would be a very interesting way to go.

By adding a 5th cult track, you also have to add new round tiles as well that have the new cult bonus.
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Dániel Lányi
Hungary
Budapest
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:

By adding a 5th cult track, you also have to add new round tiles as well that have the new cult bonus.


HAVE TO? Why exactly? There are plenty of things you could do. A bonusless cult track is just one of them.

That said, if someone has an idea, I think it's more productive to prototype it, playtest it, and then just put up a printable/playable version of it on BGG for further playtesting by the community.
I mean it's not like that in these forums eventually we'll reach an agreement about what is the best way to add new favor or a 5th cult track
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Robert
Germany
Bocholt
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Some interesting idea about adding variance to the cult tracks can be found in this thread: Variable Cults
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Jonah P.
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What would the new cult track element be? Aether or something?
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James Wolfpacker
United States
North Carolina
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DocCool wrote:
Some interesting idea about adding variance to the cult tracks can be found in this thread: Variable Cults


That was the topic I was talking about earlier.
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Loon
Singapore
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A bit of brainstorming, without having thought through all these ideas in much depth:

-the cult could give progressive non-power rewards (such as other resources directly, favors or favor-like bonuses)
-the cult could get advanced on only by decreasing other tracks, possibly at a loss, so "-2fire +aether"
-similar, priests only get placed on the cult by removing them from previous cults at the same level "send p to aether for 2 from air"
-favors/progressive rewards are particularly good, but end game scoring gives negative points, i.e. -8 for being in "first place" (possibly you can include it in a TW5 or TW6 reward?)
-the track is actually a loop, collecting many rewards but not yielding any VP at the end. (e.g. for length 4, going from 0->1 gives 1 power, from 1->2 gives 1 coin, from 2->3 gives 2 power and 3->0 gives 1 worker.) This could be good for getting something useful out of those pointless cult moves at the end of the game.
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