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Race for the Galaxy» Forums » Variants

Subject: Thematic Variants rss

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Bill K
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Some thematic variants I've toyed with...

(Originally posted in another thread where it didn't really fit.)

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I. All Goods are not Created Equal

Motivation: In Puerto Rico it always miffed me that shipping out 4 coffee barrels wasn't worth any more than shipping out 4 corn barrels. I feel a similar thing with RftG, since Alien Tech goods are worth more than Novelty goods when Trading, but not so when Consuming.

Idea: The idea is that, when consuming (non-novelty) goods via a four-color good symbol, you save the consumed goods in a separate pile. These goods can then be used as discussed below. (Note: we use cubes for goods, so for us this is easy.)





-- 3 consumed rare-elements goods (those that power jump drives) can be turned in during an Explore phase to keep one additional card during that phase.

-- 2 consumed genes goods (those that might extend the careers of your "Ronald Reagans" and "Thomas Edisons") can be turned in for a one-use "-1" cost to develop during a Development phase.

-- 2 consumed Alien Tech goods can be turned in during a Settle phase for a one-use "-1" cost/"+1" military to settle during a Settle phase.

Limits:
* No Hoarding: a player can stockpile at most 3/2/2 brown/green/yellow goods.
* Intentionality: a player can only use consumed goods during an action that she herself selected.


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II. Automatic Wins

Motivation: There is a cool narrative running behind the cards, but it doesn't always affect play. But what if it were to...

Idea: Whenever, at the end of any round (even the last round), a player achieves one of the following automatic-win goals, they ... well ... win. And the hierachy is intended: e.g., the "Overlord Oracle" goal always beats the "Jump-Drive Cartel" goal.


(1) Overlord Oracle: whoever has in play both "Alien Departure Point" and "Alien Guardian", and is also the current sole Prestige Leader.

, Prestige Leader


(2) Advent of Superman: whoever has in play "Uplift Code" and "Gene Designers" and "Alien Uplift Center" and "Uplift Gene Breeders".




(3) Jump-Drive Cartel: whoever has five or more rare-elements worlds in play while no other players have any rare-element worlds in play. (Like the Spacing Guild in "Dune".)




(4) Imperium Power: whoever has a military (not including Temporary or Specialized) that is at least 12 greater than everyone else, and who also has "Imperium Planet Buster" in play.

, +12


(5) The Grand Fleet: whoever has five or more cards with "ship/fleet/port/buster/cloaking" in the title while no other players have any such cards in their tableaus.




(6) Economic Tyranny: whoever has six or more novelty worlds in play while no one else has any novelty worlds in play.




(7) Descent into Anarchy: whoever has six or more of the following cards in play: "Smuggling Lair", "Smuggling World", "Gem Smugglers", "Blaster Runners", "Outlaw World", "Gambling World", "Black Market Trading World", and "Pirate World". (The old Star Trek episode "A Piece of the Action" comes to mind.)




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III. Mini-Themes

Motivation: Remember playing Monopoly as a kid and getting all four railroads or both utilities? It was rarely a winning strategy, but to have done so sure felt cool.

Idea: To emphasize the storyline in RftG even more--and to reward players for these minor feats of derring-do, offer yellow 3-VP goal chits to anyone completing a mini-theme.

Storylines: There are many possible storylines. Many of them are already incorporated into the 6-cost developments or the Most/First Goals--but some aren't. So, if you manage to get three of any of these sets of cards into your Tableau, you immediately claim its 3-VPs.


Smuggler's Run:




Me 2.0: the 2-cost Uplift races.




Saturday-Night Specials:




Exotic Objects:




Robotics:




The Blessed Peacemakers:




Quarantined:




Better Off Dead:




Tour de Force




Just Deserts




Finders Keepers




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IV. Scenarios

Idea: I've always liked the idea of the RvI "Rebel vs Imperium Takeover Scenario" (although, sadly, I haven't yet had a chance to play it.)

I think it'd be cool if there were other scenarios to play (perhaps in conjunction with the above "Auto-Win" ideas, and with giving each player a small this-player-only draw stack from which he can draw cards in lieu of normal card draws).

I like some of the related ideas that have been posted, such as "starting with a 6-cost development instead of a homeworld" or "in addition to a homeworld" or with having a pre-selected hand, as suggested here:



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Jonathan Tullsen
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I really like these variant ideas, although the instant-wins would be different chances depending on what expansions you were using, because some would be impossible, some extremely hard and others easier.
 
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Bill K
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You're right about the Auto-Win goals, in that I was thinking of RftG being played with all of the expansions.

Regarding the relative ease of achieving the Auto-Win goals:

--"Overlord Oracle" and "Advent of Superman" would be hard to prevent, but to win with them a player would first have to draw the right cards and then get their military high enough to play them. (After thinking about this some more, I added the requirement of the "Overlord Oracle" having to also be the Prestige Leader, to give other players a chance of deterring the player who happens to draw both cards.)

--Regarding the rest of the auto-win goals, I see them as readily preventable, especially if Takeovers are permitted, although doing so might jumble your own plans.

--Pursing "Descent into Anarchy" is particularly risky, as there aren't many points there.
 
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Jonathan Tullsen
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The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet.
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The win goals would be kinda like an all-or-nothing deal. If you try for them and don't get them, then you probably won't win the game.
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Jonathan C
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I think you are providing some very interesting ideas here. I like the idea of converting non-novelty goods into special bonuses, and I think adding instant-win conditions to the game help it in some important ways (and takes a couple tips from Glory to Rome!!!).


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Bill K
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Military Muskrat wrote:
The win goals would be kinda like an all-or-nothing deal. If you try for them and don't get them, then you probably won't win the game.

That might depend on how you pursue them. I think you should consider them like you consider First/Most Goals: only go after them if you're already moving in that direction anyway.

For instance:
(1) Only consider "Advent of Superman" if you're already going for Uplift.
(2) Only consider "Jump-Drive Cartel" if you're already heavy into rare elements (and nobody else is going brown--it might take some deception, or a well-timed Takeover).
(3) The military needed for "Imperium Power" is something you might already be close to having if you've prepared yourself for dropping down "Imperium Planet Buster".
(4) "Economic Tyranny" could be considered if you're doing Consume-Trade and are already heavy into novelty (and nobody else is going blue.)
(5) And you could already be heavy into "Alien" before you'd consider "Overlord Oracle".

"The Grand Fleet" and "Descent into Anarchy" might be strategies you sort of drift into, or something you'd pursue if you knew you had already lost the match.

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Please note that the primary instigation for this variant is thematic: it would seem such a shame to get both "Overlord Oracle" cards down ... and then to lose!

(Plus I like the extra spice these auto-win goals add to the Takeover game. Done right, auto-win goals could compel more player interaction, forcing your opponents to respond to a feint in order to prevent you from "stealing an easy win".)
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