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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Opinion on Variants rss

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James Grider
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I just want to know what everyone thinks my group should have done in a situation we'd played yesterday. This has variants involved and we're pretty much content with them, so I don't want alternative ways to play, just a simple, "yeah it works that way" or "no it doesn't work that way".

Thanks for your opinions! Here's the situation...


We've adjusted our politics so that each player has a hand of 5 political cards and each strategy phase we can choose one of our 5 cards to be on the Agenda. We place them face up so everyone can see them and if Assembly II is chosen (the one with representatives if I got the number wrong) we will vote on 2 laws that round. Whoever chooses Assembly gets the choice of giving themselves speaker and giving up their ability to choose their own political card on the agenda, or giving speaker to someone else and then being able to choose their own card.

In the first round of the game we voted on a law that normally says something like we vote on which law we will then vote on next. We decided that meant that we vote on one of the 6 (6 players) laws on the agenda and that law will be picked first (the player with Assembly still gets to pick the second law).

One of our players is playing the Mentak and their Councilor says something along the lines of after voting look at the top card of the political deck and either place in on top or on bottom. Of course, the intent being that player gets to greatly affect which law is coming up. So, we decided that councilor now gets to look at the top card of the deck and may replace a law on the agenda with it (thus placing the replaced law on the bottom of the deck) or may return the drawn card to the bottom of the deck.

So, it came about that in the second round we went to vote on which card we were going to pick to vote on first. The Mentak player revealed his councilor (after he wasn't targeted by any spies) and proudly announced that if everyone voted on a card that he didn't want to vote on then using his councilor's ability he can just discard that law and replace it. This led to a very long argument.

Here are the premises of the two sides:
The Mentak player MAY NOT discard the law that was voted to be picked next because as soon as everyone decides that this is the next law to be voted on then it is already in action being voted upon and thus is no longer on the agenda.

The Mentak player MAY discard the law that was voted to be picked next because his councilor's ability happens right after the vote for that law and that law is not being voted on at that moment since it hasn't been picked up or new councilors put down for it or anything that indicates the law is currently being voted on.


If anyone wants to ask any questions before casting your judgement (or just because you're interested) feel free.

Thank you again for your opinions, this will probably affect our future handling of the situation.
 
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Magic Octopus
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Keysdude wrote:

In the first round of the game we voted on a law that normally says something like we vote on which law we will then vote on next.


Can you give the exact text of this card? And also the Mentak representative?
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James Grider
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magicoctopus wrote:
Keysdude wrote:

In the first round of the game we voted on a law that normally says something like we vote on which law we will then vote on next.


Can you give the exact text of this card? And also the Mentak representative?


I can in about 9-10 hours when I get home. Sorry.
 
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Joshua Simone [The Quasi Geek Dad]
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First thing: I personally do not like variants. For me basically someone doesn't like the limitations placed upon them and they just change it. With out adequate play testing you get unforeseeable problems in balance issues and fluidity of play. The people that made the game have taken considerable amount of time to make the game a certain way, just play the game. If you like variants go ahead, but I probably won't play with you.

Secondly, I think the Mentak MAY discard the law that would be voted on next. I think this stays within the intended way it was suppose to work and creates nice political maneuvering.
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David Damerell
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Keysdude wrote:
I just want to know what everyone thinks my group should have done in a situation we'd played yesterday.


Tossed a coin.

No, I'm not joking. In a situation like this, the rule is so variant that trying to argue about what it means in a completely unanticipated set of circumstances is futile, and if everyone lines up with the interpretation that suits them (which one tends to do even in good faith - you form a cunning plan based on your interpretation, etc) there's no taking a show of hands.
 
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Magic Octopus
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damerell wrote:
Keysdude wrote:
I just want to know what everyone thinks my group should have done in a situation we'd played yesterday.


Tossed a coin.

No, I'm not joking. In a situation like this, the rule is so variant that trying to argue about what it means in a completely unanticipated set of circumstances is futile, and if everyone lines up with the interpretation that suits them (which one tends to do even in good faith - you form a cunning plan based on your interpretation, etc) there's no taking a show of hands.


I'm not averse to tossing a coin when this comes up during gameplay, but if I want the variant rule to work in the future, I'd want to come up with a solid ruling.

When deciding which way to go, I use the following criteria:
-balance
-theme
-fun factor

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DeadMoney wrote:
First thing: I personally do not like variants. For me basically someone doesn't like the limitations placed upon them and they just change it.


Sometimes these limitations make the game less fun, and might even unintentionally be opposite to the game designer's ideas. Take the Mentak's ability to steal TGs: in our games, before we adopted SA rules, the ability hardly ever got used because people spent their TGs so that they always only had less than 3. If I'm supposed to be playing space pirates, but no actual pirating goes on, that's crazy unfun.

Quote:
With out adequate play testing you get unforeseeable problems in balance issues and fluidity of play. The people that made the game have taken considerable amount of time to make the game a certain way, just play the game. If you like variants go ahead, but I probably won't play with you.


Throughout the years, there have been numerous arguments about the importance of balance in Twilight Imperium. Yssaril is a stronger race than Xxcha in vanilla TI3. Do you think that Christian T. Petersen deliberately designed the game that way and playtested extensively to ensure this? I think more likely the intention was to make balanced races, but there really wasn't enough time. In the end, the balancing is left to table politics: "Look, he is playing Yssaril, let's attack him!" There are many people who love this and consider it perfectly fine. And I have no issue with that.

My point is that in a game as complex as TI3, if you accept RAW, you accept that it is not balanced. To claim that FFG made a perfectly balanced game that can only be imbalanced by variant rules is just ludicrous. You only have to analyze the expansions to see that FFG themselves wanted to smooth out balance issues (e.g. nerfing Fighters with SE).

That being said, varianters obviously have to deal with the balance issues. That's why Shattered Ascension has been in development for 8 years now. FFG does not have 8 years to spend on something silly like this
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David Damerell
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magicoctopus wrote:
Take the Mentak's ability to steal TGs: in our games, before we adopted SA rules, the ability hardly ever got used because people spent their TGs so that they always only had less than 3.


It's hardly the Mentak's only ability, and many of the things one can do in games are more threats than reality. The French player in 1805: Sea of Glory will never actually invade Britain if the opponent is awake, but it's still very important that they could. The Mentak's ability stops players (except the Mentak's allies) stockpiling TG for a major push, practically cuts off their ability to bribe each other, and makes it hard for them to score objectives. It might never come into play and it still affects the game.
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damerell wrote:
magicoctopus wrote:
Take the Mentak's ability to steal TGs: in our games, before we adopted SA rules, the ability hardly ever got used because people spent their TGs so that they always only had less than 3.


It's hardly the Mentak's only ability, and many of the things one can do in games are more threats than reality. The French player in 1805: Sea of Glory will never actually invade Britain if the opponent is awake, but it's still very important that they could. The Mentak's ability stops players (except the Mentak's allies) stockpiling TG for a major push, practically cuts off their ability to bribe each other, and makes it hard for them to score objectives. It might never come into play and it still affects the game.


I agree, it impacts the game. It still doesn't feel like playing space pirates.
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David Damerell
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magicoctopus wrote:
I agree, it impacts the game. It still doesn't feel like playing space pirates.


Might as well ask why the Nekro Virus are bound by laws (please, _please_, don't tell me if this is fixed in SA and how totally marvellous it is) or indeed why the ragtag band of pirates suddenly want to become the authorities.
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Magic Octopus
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I don't want to continue the derail, so I sent a geekmail.
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James Grider
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Thanks for the responses so far. Sorry I've completely forgotten to post the text on the cards. I'll have to set an alarm to remind myself this time, lol.
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James Grider
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Here's the card texts:

Mentak Representative: S'ula Mentarion (Councilor) +4 votes
After voting, look at the top card of the Political deck and place it on the top or the bottom of the deck.

Political Card: Necessary Bureaucracy (LAW)
For: After voting on an agenda during each future game round, players vote on the next card of the Political deck. Once per agenda.
Against: Draw the top card of the Political deck. If it has a "For" effect, immediately resolve it. Otherwise discard the card without effect.


So.... After explicitly typing the political card out it seems we interpreted its original affect incorrectly anyway. That it would give us 2 votes per round instead of 1. Let's assume, for academic purposes, that my group will be unwilling to switch to what the PC intended (b/c they probably won't) and just keep discussing this based on what we're now playing.

Again, thank you all for you input!
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