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Subject: Calling all Dune players: positive opinions wanted rss

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bangor m
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I read a post recently where a Rex player commented on how little positive commentary the Dune community has offered to the Rex boards. The poster went on to note that most Dune players, if we said anything on Rex, simply went on to say Dune is better.

Now, I don't entirely agree, in that I've seen quite a few positive posts about Rex from Dune players, and a few comparisons where Rex came out ahead. Having said that, though, I think there is a grain of truth to the observation, in that many of us biggest Dune fans seem to be failing to give as much love to Rex as we should be. Rex is still, imho, a great game, and if anything we should be talking about where it succeeds and giving positive feedback on some Dune tweaks that would improve gameplay. I've been guilty of it on occasion myself, resisting writing anything positive about Rex because I so much love Dune.

There is a huge, deep, and profound level of strategic insights those of us in the Dune community could offer to Rex, both to improve Rex and perhaps to convince a few Rex players to give Dune a try.

I'd like to ask Dune players to help me show the love. Some caveats that I hope might be helpful in keeping things positive:

1. Components: Don't post putting down the board or bits. Players can't help what they got. In a like vein, I'd suggest keeping all tips be limited to those players can do with the original bits, and perhaps a bit more, but without mounting an entirely different board.

2. No "Dune is better than Rex." You are welcome to feel that way (and, frankly, I would probably agree with you), but there's no reason to share that opinion. Much of my own love of Dune is likely as much nostalgic as anything else.

To get the ball rolling, two changes I think from Dune (and one miscellaneous change) would improve Rex play:

1. Jol Nar: Writing and secret communication: I think Jol Nar has to be able to either write things down or with player aids (http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/77446/intel-datastore-shee...). Secret communication I'm in favor of disallowing as per the Rex rules. Too often it adds time without adding significant gameplay. Writing things down, though, particularly with a player aid, can easily be tuned so as not to add time, but it probably depends on the group. In general, I would still keep all information public, while allowing Jol Nar to record.

2. Escrow: Allow influence to be put into escrow for a player to be transmitted during later cease fires. This would bring back a great trading element from Dune.

3. Distribute cease fire (and maybe sol offensive cards): Not from Dune per se, but because it's a shorter game if a bad draw leads to ceasefires not being drawn early enough I think the gameplay suffers. I distribute them equally into four piles, so at minimum you'll get one by turn 3, and usually sooner.

Dune players, I formally request that you distribute some game-love on this fantastic game, as a good game in its own right and also to hopefully convince some Rex players to give Dune a try because of how cool the Dune community is.

Thanks in advance, and apologies for any unintentional offense!
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Aaron Bredon
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bangor wrote:

2. Escrow: Allow influence to be put into escrow for a player to be transmitted during later cease fires. This would bring back a great trading element from Dune.


This is actually from Dune house rules, not from the actual Rulebook - according to the rules, the only ways spice(influence) can be exchanged is by:
1. Allies may pay for each other's shipping.
2. Emperor may give spice(influence) to allies during the card auction.

The rules do say that spice(influence) may be part of negotiation, but do not provide a method for transferring it, so the only way to transfer spice offered in negotiation is between allies as payment of shipping or from Emperor.



My suggestion to improve Rex - this is meant to bring back the all-or-nothing nature of going for the win in Dune (it takes several turns to recover after losing big)
1. reduce maximum revival to 3.
2. Increase the maximum # of turns to 16.
3. In the first 8 turns, influence shows in only one of the 2 regions selected - this should be randomized before Jol-Nar gets his look at the card. When the influence is placed, also place a token to indicate that no influence may be placed there again. In the last 8 turns the influence will be placed in the region without a token. When making the influence deck for turns 1-8, shuffle the Ceasefire and Sol Offensives and put 4 at random in the deck. After a Ceasefire or Sol Offensive is resolved, take it out of the game. When making the influence deck for turns 9-16, put the other 4 Ceasefire/Sol Offensives in the deck.
4. Xxcha Selects 2 numbers for the predicted turn of win. if they are 1 and 2, a win on turns 1-2 is predicted. if they are 1 and 3, a win on turns 3 or 4 is predicted. If they are 7 and 8, a win on turn 15 or 16 is predicted. Default wins by Sol or Hacan cannot be predicted (the game will rarely go the full 16 turns, anyway)
5. Reduce standard movement to 1, Sol move is 2, when you control a spaceport at the start of a turn, your move is 3.
6. Only 2 players may be in a stronghold at any time. (Xxcha face-down counters don't count, but may not be flipped face-up if 2 other players are in the space at the start of combat.) Shipment cost is 1 to a stronghold, 2 elsewhere, regardless of the presence of other players. Ship/move order is ship, then move.
7. in combat, attack/defense cards must be selected before showing the wheel - the easiest way is to hold them in the hand holding the wheel, behind the wheel.
8. Xxcha may flip counters face up during their movement step if allowable based on # of players in a stronghold. this does not count as moving that stack.

The movement reduction and shipping change is to bring back some of the tenseness of shooting for the win in Dune - only 1 player can try to stop you at each stronghold you are trying for.
This should bring back much of the feel of Dune to Rex, but will make the game take longer.

 
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Joseph Courtight
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The biggest problem with Rex is that it is too easy to ride out for the default win.

I made two changes to the game:

1) it a player wins via a default, they win alone

2) Separate the bombardment and ceasefire deck. Then draw one from that deck each round. This ensures that player have ample opportunities to betray each other.
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Erik Nilsson
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abredon wrote:

My suggestion to improve Rex - this is meant to bring back the all-or-nothing nature of going for the win in Dune (it takes several turns to recover after losing big)
1. reduce maximum revival to 3.
2. Increase the maximum # of turns to 16.
3. In the first 8 turns, influence shows in only one of the 2 regions selected - this should be randomized before Jol-Nar gets his look at the card. When the influence is placed, also place a token to indicate that no influence may be placed there again. In the last 8 turns the influence will be placed in the region without a token. When making the influence deck for turns 1-8, shuffle the Ceasefire and Sol Offensives and put 4 at random in the deck. After a Ceasefire or Sol Offensive is resolved, take it out of the game. When making the influence deck for turns 9-16, put the other 4 Ceasefire/Sol Offensives in the deck.
4. Xxcha Selects 2 numbers for the predicted turn of win. if they are 1 and 2, a win on turns 1-2 is predicted. if they are 1 and 3, a win on turns 3 or 4 is predicted. If they are 7 and 8, a win on turn 15 or 16 is predicted. Default wins by Sol or Hacan cannot be predicted (the game will rarely go the full 16 turns, anyway)
5. Reduce standard movement to 1, Sol move is 2, when you control a spaceport at the start of a turn, your move is 3.
6. Only 2 players may be in a stronghold at any time. (Xxcha face-down counters don't count, but may not be flipped face-up if 2 other players are in the space at the start of combat.) Shipment cost is 1 to a stronghold, 2 elsewhere, regardless of the presence of other players. Ship/move order is ship, then move.
7. in combat, attack/defense cards must be selected before showing the wheel - the easiest way is to hold them in the hand holding the wheel, behind the wheel.
8. Xxcha may flip counters face up during their movement step if allowable based on # of players in a stronghold. this does not count as moving that stack.


If these are the changes you are suggesting for Rex, why not just play Dune? These are my spontaneous comments to some of your suggestions:

1. There is of course a reason maximum revival is at 5, it is proportional to the length of the game. It makes it difficult to really hammer one player so that he/she is out of the game. With a longer game, the player may recover anyway, but leads me to number 2:

2,3,4,5. (Related to making the game last max 16 rounds instead of 8). This has been discussed before... The potential problem with a shorter game is that default wins and XXCha win conditions become easier to achieve. Recently we experimented and played a 6 round game (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1086760/4th-and-5th-game-of-...), and this became even more apparent. Is this a problem? No, just like any thing which seems "unbalanced". As soon as the players imagine one race has the advantage, the other races will be more hostile against it. Is Hacan riding to victory in turn 8 in every game? - Then surely most XXCha guesses will be Hacan - 8. Is XXCha guessing correctly every turn because of game inertia? - Well then the other players will be more motivated to make a winning push in early rounds. If your group is suffering from one race getting default wins in round 8, the answer is not to make the game longer, but change your strategy!

6. If you disallow more than 2 players in a stronghold you take away one of the more rewarding aspects of NOT being officially allied with your unofficial allies. In two of our games, 3-player powerhouse alliances arose which seemed to be unbeatable. The other 3 players quickly decided not to ally because they would have a better shot at preventing the alliance to get a 5-stronghold victory, since they could each move/deploy into the strongholds which they were most likely to win over. If you cap it at 2 players per stronghold then that possibility is gone, and the only way to counter a 3-player power alliance is to form a (weaker) alliance of your own.
Shipping (deploy) is after movement to bring some planning into the game, as a compensation for the reduced number of rounds. With a longer game it makes sense, but not with 8 rounds.
 
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Aaron Bredon
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arne_sven wrote:
abredon wrote:

My suggestion to improve Rex - this is meant to bring back the all-or-nothing nature of going for the win in Dune (it takes several turns to recover after losing big)
1. reduce maximum revival to 3.
2. Increase the maximum # of turns to 16.
3. In the first 8 turns, influence shows in only one of the 2 regions selected - this should be randomized before Jol-Nar gets his look at the card. When the influence is placed, also place a token to indicate that no influence may be placed there again. In the last 8 turns the influence will be placed in the region without a token. When making the influence deck for turns 1-8, shuffle the Ceasefire and Sol Offensives and put 4 at random in the deck. After a Ceasefire or Sol Offensive is resolved, take it out of the game. When making the influence deck for turns 9-16, put the other 4 Ceasefire/Sol Offensives in the deck.
4. Xxcha Selects 2 numbers for the predicted turn of win. if they are 1 and 2, a win on turns 1-2 is predicted. if they are 1 and 3, a win on turns 3 or 4 is predicted. If they are 7 and 8, a win on turn 15 or 16 is predicted. Default wins by Sol or Hacan cannot be predicted (the game will rarely go the full 16 turns, anyway)
5. Reduce standard movement to 1, Sol move is 2, when you control a spaceport at the start of a turn, your move is 3.
6. Only 2 players may be in a stronghold at any time. (Xxcha face-down counters don't count, but may not be flipped face-up if 2 other players are in the space at the start of combat.) Shipment cost is 1 to a stronghold, 2 elsewhere, regardless of the presence of other players. Ship/move order is ship, then move.
7. in combat, attack/defense cards must be selected before showing the wheel - the easiest way is to hold them in the hand holding the wheel, behind the wheel.
8. Xxcha may flip counters face up during their movement step if allowable based on # of players in a stronghold. this does not count as moving that stack.


If these are the changes you are suggesting for Rex, why not just play Dune? These are my spontaneous comments to some of your suggestions:

1. There is of course a reason maximum revival is at 5, it is proportional to the length of the game. It makes it difficult to really hammer one player so that he/she is out of the game. With a longer game, the player may recover anyway, but leads me to number 2:

2,3,4,5. (Related to making the game last max 16 rounds instead of 8). This has been discussed before... The potential problem with a shorter game is that default wins and XXCha win conditions become easier to achieve. Recently we experimented and played a 6 round game (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1086760/4th-and-5th-game-of-...), and this became even more apparent. Is this a problem? No, just like any thing which seems "unbalanced". As soon as the players imagine one race has the advantage, the other races will be more hostile against it. Is Hacan riding to victory in turn 8 in every game? - Then surely most XXCha guesses will be Hacan - 8. Is XXCha guessing correctly every turn because of game inertia? - Well then the other players will be more motivated to make a winning push in early rounds. If your group is suffering from one race getting default wins in round 8, the answer is not to make the game longer, but change your strategy!

6. If you disallow more than 2 players in a stronghold you take away one of the more rewarding aspects of NOT being officially allied with your unofficial allies. In two of our games, 3-player powerhouse alliances arose which seemed to be unbeatable. The other 3 players quickly decided not to ally because they would have a better shot at preventing the alliance to get a 5-stronghold victory, since they could each move/deploy into the strongholds which they were most likely to win over. If you cap it at 2 players per stronghold then that possibility is gone, and the only way to counter a 3-player power alliance is to form a (weaker) alliance of your own.
Shipping (deploy) is after movement to bring some planning into the game, as a compensation for the reduced number of rounds. With a longer game it makes sense, but not with 8 rounds.


The problem I noticed with Rex is that a player can try to win one turn, lose almost all of his army, and with 5 revival plus one card for another 5 revival be in contention to try to win again next turn. The extra influence works into this in that most players will have enough influence to pay to revive most of their troops and/or leaders.
This eliminates the most exciting part of Dune - when one player tries to win and gets nearly eliminated, he is out of the game for a couple of turns, creating a power vacuum that another player tries to fill.

The reason for only allowing 2 players in a stronghold is to encourage players to try for the win. Even a single player can shoot for the win with this rule (especially if he can find a stronghold where he can expect to fight a traitor or that is weakly defended).

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Erik Nilsson
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abredon wrote:

The problem I noticed with Rex is that a player can try to win one turn, lose almost all of his army, and with 5 revival plus one card for another 5 revival be in contention to try to win again next turn. The extra influence works into this in that most players will have enough influence to pay to revive most of their troops and/or leaders.
This eliminates the most exciting part of Dune - when one player tries to win and gets nearly eliminated, he is out of the game for a couple of turns, creating a power vacuum that another player tries to fill.


It may be that I haven't played enough yet, or that my entire group is inexperienced, but what you're describing, it feels like its happening in our games. It may not be "a couple of turns", but it definitely takes at least 1 turn for a player to recover from a crushing defeat after a rush. And during that time, somebody else steps up. Usually only Lazax and Hacan have enough money to buy everything back (although Letnev is in third place there). And "everything" in this context isn't really that much: 1 Leader, 5 Troops + 1 Mechanized if your Lazax. If this really was your "winning move" you most likely lost more than three times that much. Of course, you could be holding a "fresh recruits" card, but even with that card you'll still only be able to get about 50% back.
 
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Aaron Bredon
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arne_sven wrote:
abredon wrote:

The problem I noticed with Rex is that a player can try to win one turn, lose almost all of his army, and with 5 revival plus one card for another 5 revival be in contention to try to win again next turn. The extra influence works into this in that most players will have enough influence to pay to revive most of their troops and/or leaders.
This eliminates the most exciting part of Dune - when one player tries to win and gets nearly eliminated, he is out of the game for a couple of turns, creating a power vacuum that another player tries to fill.


It may be that I haven't played enough yet, or that my entire group is inexperienced, but what you're describing, it feels like its happening in our games. It may not be "a couple of turns", but it definitely takes at least 1 turn for a player to recover from a crushing defeat after a rush. And during that time, somebody else steps up. Usually only Lazax and Hacan have enough money to buy everything back (although Letnev is in third place there). And "everything" in this context isn't really that much: 1 Leader, 5 Troops + 1 Mechanized if your Lazax. If this really was your "winning move" you most likely lost more than three times that much. Of course, you could be holding a "fresh recruits" card, but even with that card you'll still only be able to get about 50% back.


For lazax, the revival is 5 total including no more than 1 mech.

The number of troops needed to be 'in the game' as a deterrent/viable army is around 7-10, so in dune, it takes 2 turns to recover, in rex, you are a viable deterrent almost immediately. If you went for a win, you likely had 1-3 troops left in 1 or 2 strongholds. That plus 5 revived is enough to fight in 1 stronghold, which is usually enough to prevent/delay a win.
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bangor m
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"This is actually from Dune house rules, not from the actual Rulebook - according to the rules, the only ways spice(influence) can be exchanged is by:
1. Allies may pay for each other's shipping.
2. Emperor may give spice(influence) to allies during the card auction.

The rules do say that spice(influence) may be part of negotiation, but do not provide a method for transferring it, so the only way to transfer spice offered in negotiation is between allies as payment of shipping or from Emperor."

I don't ever remember playing by the actual rules, and played by the house-rule for so long I'd forgotten the base rules. I can't remember if our group tried it and didn't like it or if I just tried the house rule with another group and liked it.

Do you play by the base rules in Dune? And, perhaps more on-topic, do you think the limitation in these base rules would improve Rex? I think Rex did continue the Emperor/Lacax being able to give spice/influence during the csrd auction, but not paying shipping (deployment) costs. Do you think Rex would be better for allowing it?

"My suggestion to improve Rex - this is meant to bring back the all-or-nothing nature of going for the win in Dune (it takes several turns to recover after losing big)
1. reduce maximum revival to 3."

Unit recruitment, I assume you mean? Interesting.

"2. Increase the maximum # of turns to 16.
3. In the first 8 turns, influence shows in only one of the 2 regions selected - this should be randomized before Jol-Nar gets his look at the card. When the influence is placed, also place a token to indicate that no influence may be placed there again. In the last 8 turns the influence will be placed in the region without a token. When making the influence deck for turns 1-8, shuffle the Ceasefire and Sol Offensives and put 4 at random in the deck. After a Ceasefire or Sol Offensive is resolved, take it out of the game. When making the influence deck for turns 9-16, put the other 4 Ceasefire/Sol Offensives in the deck."

Another mechanical way to accomplish a similar result would be to separate the influence and sol offensive/case fire into two decks. Every turn draw one from each one. Use each influence card 2x, the first time placing the left influence, the second time using the right.
I think this is an interesting approach.

"4. Xxcha Selects 2 numbers for the predicted turn of win. if they are 1 and 2, a win on turns 1-2 is predicted. if they are 1 and 3, a win on turns 3 or 4 is predicted. If they are 7 and 8, a win on turn 15 or 16 is predicted. Default wins by Sol or Hacan cannot be predicted (the game will rarely go the full 16 turns, anyway).

This is very interesting. I'd be very interested in trying this. In our games, Xxcha rarely predicts anything but the Hacan default, so this would mix things up. I like this idea a lot.

"5. Reduce standard movement to 1, Sol move is 2, when you control a spaceport at the start of a turn, your move is 3."

I like the movement in Rex, but I see what you mean. It would certainly slow things down. I think the influence rate reduction might be enough, though.

"6. Only 2 players may be in a stronghold at any time. (Xxcha face-down counters don't count, but may not be flipped face-up if 2 other players are in the space at the start of combat.) Shipment cost is 1 to a stronghold, 2 elsewhere, regardless of the presence of other players. Ship/move order is ship, then move."

I think this makes more thematic sense, but I also think it does bring Rex away from the wide-open game it is and into a more limited movement game a la Dune. Rex's ability to have anyone attacked at any time gives a different vibe that I think has some value. This one I've got to think about.

"7. in combat, attack/defense cards must be selected before showing the wheel - the easiest way is to hold them in the hand holding the wheel, behind the wheel."

What are you trying to do with this one? I'm not objecting, just curious.

"8. Xxcha may flip counters face up during their movement step if allowable based on # of players in a stronghold. this does not count as moving that stack."

I'm a little mixed about the turtling move of the Xxcha in the first place, so I'll think on this before I comment.

"The movement reduction and shipping change is to bring back some of the tenseness of shooting for the win in Dune - only 1 player can try to stop you at each stronghold you are trying for.
This should bring back much of the feel of Dune to Rex, but will make the game take longer."

It might, although I think your changes could be used to some extent with something less than 16, maybe to 12 or 10, which would bring some of what you're looking for without making Rex too much longer. Just a thought.

Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments.
 
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bangor m
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"1) it a player wins via a default, they win alone."

This is interesting. I've had good experience with allies shooting for the default win; why don't you care for it? Not arguing, just curious.

"2) Separate the bombardment and ceasefire deck. Then draw one from that deck each round. This ensures that player have ample opportunities to betray each other."

This also ensures a steadier influence exchange as well. I like this idea very much. Thanks for your comments.
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"1. There is of course a reason maximum revival is at 5, it is proportional to the length of the game. It makes it difficult to really hammer one player so that he/she is out of the game. With a longer game, the player may recover anyway, but leads me to number 2:

2,3,4,5. (Related to making the game last max 16 rounds instead of 8). This has been discussed before... The potential problem with a shorter game is that default wins and XXCha win conditions become easier to achieve. Recently we experimented and played a 6 round game (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1086760/4th-and-5th-game-of-...), and this became even more apparent. Is this a problem? No, just like any thing which seems "unbalanced". As soon as the players imagine one race has the advantage, the other races will be more hostile against it. Is Hacan riding to victory in turn 8 in every game? - Then surely most XXCha guesses will be Hacan - 8. Is XXCha guessing correctly every turn because of game inertia? - Well then the other players will be more motivated to make a winning push in early rounds. If your group is suffering from one race getting default wins in round 8, the answer is not to make the game longer, but change your strategy!"

This is a great point to make. I think my group has fallen into too much group-think about this; Xxcha always seems to guess Hacan-8, no matter who plays it. I think a strategy change is in order, and perhaps some retooling in our group about how to play Xxcha and Hacan's default victory.

"6. If you disallow more than 2 players in a stronghold you take away one of the more rewarding aspects of NOT being officially allied with your unofficial allies. In two of our games, 3-player powerhouse alliances arose which seemed to be unbeatable. The other 3 players quickly decided not to ally because they would have a better shot at preventing the alliance to get a 5-stronghold victory, since they could each move/deploy into the strongholds which they were most likely to win over. If you cap it at 2 players per stronghold then that possibility is gone, and the only way to counter a 3-player power alliance is to form a (weaker) alliance of your own."

I haven't tried this yet (no allying to take advantage of turn order, etc. in effect giving up ally abilities to be able to battle in the same space (using turn order to force the enemy to battle 2x). I'm now dying to try this in our next game; I think we've been too prone to allying immediately even if in a weaker alliance.

Thanks for your insights.
 
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"The problem I noticed with Rex is that a player can try to win one turn, lose almost all of his army, and with 5 revival plus one card for another 5 revival be in contention to try to win again next turn. The extra influence works into this in that most players will have enough influence to pay to revive most of their troops and/or leaders.
This eliminates the most exciting part of Dune - when one player tries to win and gets nearly eliminated, he is out of the game for a couple of turns, creating a power vacuum that another player tries to fill."

I have found personally that defeats are costly in Rex. Perhaps they are not as costly in some sense, but losing 1 turn in Rex is pretty costly given its present length. If you try to make Rex longer, you almost have to reduce recruitment and influence to counter what you're talking about. I think I'm not entirely sold on the idea that making Rex longer in that way adds more "game," although of course that's a personal thing.

"The reason for only allowing 2 players in a stronghold is to encourage players to try for the win. Even a single player can shoot for the win with this rule (especially if he can find a stronghold where he can expect to fight a traitor or that is weakly defended)."

I understand what you're saying, but without Xxcha (less than 6) how does this rule do you think help Rex?

Thanks again for contributing.
 
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bangor m
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"It may be that I haven't played enough yet, or that my entire group is inexperienced, but what you're describing, it feels like its happening in our games. It may not be "a couple of turns", but it definitely takes at least 1 turn for a player to recover from a crushing defeat after a rush. And during that time, somebody else steps up. Usually only Lazax and Hacan have enough money to buy everything back (although Letnev is in third place there). And "everything" in this context isn't really that much: 1 Leader, 5 Troops + 1 Mechanized if your Lazax. If this really was your "winning move" you most likely lost more than three times that much. Of course, you could be holding a "fresh recruits" card, but even with that card you'll still only be able to get about 50% back."

Our group finds crushing defeats also tough to recover quickly from, particularly since the winners can build up also and usually do, so that the losers have more to catch up than a free recruitment and their limit do. And this someone ignores the cost which is prohibitive for most races, at least in our games. Just my experience, may not be universal among players who are are much better than I.
 
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"For lazax, the revival is 5 total including no more than 1 mech.

The number of troops needed to be 'in the game' as a deterrent/viable army is around 7-10, so in dune, it takes 2 turns to recover, in rex, you are a viable deterrent almost immediately. If you went for a win, you likely had 1-3 troops left in 1 or 2 strongholds. That plus 5 revived is enough to fight in 1 stronghold, which is usually enough to prevent/delay a win."

I see what you mean, but it's still difficult to do, and if you were able to save enough resources to build up again that fast, that's good planning that perhaps should be rewarded. And I, at least, haven't seen a "next turn full recovery" that fast, but I acknowledge that you may have better players than I. But if you held back the free recruitment card as a hedge against your losing, and held back enough influence to rearm quickly, I think in Rex it makes for a good game to allow you to do so, and at least for our group losing is still difficult enough not to take it lightly.

I'm not arguing with you, really, just trying to discuss it.
 
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bangor wrote:
"This is actually from Dune house rules, not from the actual Rulebook - according to the rules, the only ways spice(influence) can be exchanged is by:
1. Allies may pay for each other's shipping.
2. Emperor may give spice(influence) to allies during the card auction.

The rules do say that spice(influence) may be part of negotiation, but do not provide a method for transferring it, so the only way to transfer spice offered in negotiation is between allies as payment of shipping or from Emperor."

I don't ever remember playing by the actual rules, and played by the house-rule for so long I'd forgotten the base rules. I can't remember if our group tried it and didn't like it or if I just tried the house rule with another group and liked it.

Do you play by the base rules in Dune? And, perhaps more on-topic, do you think the limitation in these base rules would improve Rex? I think Rex did continue the Emperor/Lacax being able to give spice/influence during the csrd auction, but not paying shipping (deployment) costs. Do you think Rex would be better for allowing it?

"My suggestion to improve Rex - this is meant to bring back the all-or-nothing nature of going for the win in Dune (it takes several turns to recover after losing big)
1. reduce maximum revival to 3."

Unit recruitment, I assume you mean? Interesting. This hurts Sol the most.

Actually, this helps Sol - they never have to pay to recruit, so their influence gets used for better things, like bidding for cards. It hurts Lazax and Hacan, who can afford to pay for more recruitment.

bangor wrote:
"2. Increase the maximum # of turns to 16.
3. In the first 8 turns, influence shows in only one of the 2 regions selected - this should be randomized before Jol-Nar gets his look at the card. When the influence is placed, also place a token to indicate that no influence may be placed there again. In the last 8 turns the influence will be placed in the region without a token. When making the influence deck for turns 1-8, shuffle the Ceasefire and Sol Offensives and put 4 at random in the deck. After a Ceasefire or Sol Offensive is resolved, take it out of the game. When making the influence deck for turns 9-16, put the other 4 Ceasefire/Sol Offensives in the deck.

Another mechanical way to accomplish a similar result would be to separate the influence and sol offensive/case fire into two decks. Every turn draw one from each one. Use each influence card 2x, the first time placing the left influence, the second time using the right.
I think this is an interesting approach.

No, then players would know where influence woul appear in the first and last half of the game.
bangor wrote:
"4. Xxcha Selects 2 numbers for the predicted turn of win. if they are 1 and 2, a win on turns 1-2 is predicted. if they are 1 and 3, a win on turns 3 or 4 is predicted. If they are 7 and 8, a win on turn 15 or 16 is predicted. Default wins by Sol or Hacan cannot be predicted (the game will rarely go the full 16 turns, anyway).

This is very interesting. I'd be very interested in trying this. In our games. Xxcha rarely predicts anything but the Hacan default, so this would mix things up. I like this idea a lot.

"5. Reduce standard movement to 1, Sol move is 2, when you control a spaceport at the start of a turn, your move is 3."

I like the movement in Rex, but I see what you mean. It would certainly slow things down. I'm not sure that the influence rate reduction might be enough, though.

"6. Only 2 players may be in a stronghold at any time. (Xxcha face-down counters don't count, but may not be flipped face-up if 2 other players are in the space at the start of combat.) Shipment cost is 1 to a stronghold, 2 elsewhere, regardless of the presence of other players. Ship/move order is ship, then move."

I think this makes more thematic sense, but I also think it does bring Rex away from the wide-open game it is and into a more limited movement game a la Dune. Rex's ability to have anyone attacked at any time gives a different vibe that I think has some value. This one I've got to think about.

"7. in combat, attack/defense cards must be selected before showing the wheel - the easiest way is to hold them in the hand holding the wheel, behind the wheel."

What are you trying to do with this one? I'm not objection, just curious.

This forces you to choose a weapon and/or defense before knowing if your opponent will play a weapon or defense. (Example you will not play a weapon, but a defense, and you are winning a close fight, I'll play my mercenary rather than my weapon and win.)
bangor wrote:
"8. Xxcha may flip counters face up during their movement step if allowable based on # of players in a stronghold. this does not count as moving that stack."

I'm a little mixed about the turtling move of the Xxcha in the first place, so I'll think on this before I comment.

"The movement reduction and shipping change is to bring back some of the tenseness of shooting for the win in Dune - only 1 player can try to stop you at each stronghold you are trying for.
This should bring back much of the feel of Dune to Rex, but will make the game take longer."

It might, although I think your changes could be used to some extent with something less than 16, maybe to 12 or 10, which would bring some of what you're looking for without making Rex too much longer. Just a thought.

Yes, Dune is often played with a house rule limiting it to 10 turns.
I have rarely seen it reach that, however - things tend to destabilize and someone goes after the win somewhere around turn 4-6, and usually ends somewhere in the next 4 turns.

bangor wrote:
Thanks very much for your thoughtful comments.
 
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"No, then players would know where influence would appear in the first and last half of the game."

Sorry, didn't explain myself well. Two decks, one influence, other sol offensive/cease-fire. Go through influence deck completely once, only placing left influence. When deck complete, reshuffle and go through again, only placing right influence.

"This forces you to choose a weapon and/or defense before knowing if your opponent will play a weapon or defense. (Example you will not play a weapon, but a defense, and you are winning a close fight, I'll play my mercenary rather than my weapon and win.)"

I don't like this. This hurts Jol-Nar's ability in comparison, and I don't think they're the easiest player to use in the first place. I also can see where it's an advantage for some cards (1-offs like Mercenary), but otherwise I think this has limited utility.

 
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bangor wrote:
"No, then players would know where influence would appear in the first and last half of the game."

Sorry, didn't explain myself well. Two decks, one influence, other sol offensive/cease-fire. Go through influence deck completely once, only placing left influence. When deck complete, reshuffle and go through again, only placing right influence.

I understood that - the half of the influence on the left is then known to occur in the first 8 turns, and the half of the influence on the right is known to occur in the last 8 turns. Also if the 2 influence drops are always listed as lowest/highest (I don't have my copy in front of me right now), influence would show up in sectors 1-9 for the first half of the game, and sectors 10-18 for the second half. This is why I specified randomizing right/left before Jol-Nar looks at the card, and placing a token there so that influence will not show up there again.

bangor wrote:
"This forces you to choose a weapon and/or defense before knowing if your opponent will play a weapon or defense. (Example you will not play a weapon, but a defense, and you are winning a close fight, I'll play my mercenary rather than my weapon and win.)"

I don't like this. This hurts Jol-Nar's ability in comparison, and I don't think they're the easiest player to use in the first place. I also can see where it's an advantage for some cards (1-offs like Mercenary), but otherwise I think this has limited utility.


I disagree, my change strengthens Jol-Nar's ability - they are the only ones who have any pre-knowledge this way, whereas with the official way, anyone can see the leader, troops, and whether the opponent played a weapon or defense. I also have had quite a few timess where I have had a weapon and mercenary, or defense and tactical retreat, and was able to decide what to use based on what cards my opponent would and would not play.
 
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"I understood that - the half of the influence on the left is then known to occur in the first 8 turns, and the half of the influence on the right is known to occur in the last 8 turns. Also if the 2 influence drops are always listed as lowest/highest (I don't have my copy in front of me right now), influence would show up in sectors 1-9 for the first half of the game, and sectors 10-18 for the second half. This is why I specified randomizing right/left before Jol-Nar looks at the card, and placing a token there so that influence will not show up there again."

Ah, I understand now. That makes sense.

"I disagree, my change strengthens Jol-Nar's ability - they are the only ones who have any pre-knowledge this way, whereas with the official way, anyone can see the leader, troops, and whether the opponent played a weapon or defense. I also have had quite a few timess where I have had a weapon and mercenary, or defense and tactical retreat, and was able to decide what to use based on what cards my opponent would and would not play."

The Jor Nal's ability to know what cards the other races have and are likely to play is the ability I was thinking about, not just their battle ability. I understand what you're are saying, but being able to hold back on strategy cards until you know what numbers you're facing is an ability Jor Nal has both in battle and somewhat after bidding (whatever the result) in knowing what other strategy cards the other guy is holding, and I think this house rule makes the other races more nearly equal in battle. Every race has to make a calculated risk in using strategy cards whereas the Jor Nal has a slight advantage, and I think your house rule takes that away. I can understand why it's an advantage and can make strategy cards more powerful because it reduces the possibility of misusing them, but I think it changes an aspect of bluff in the battles.
 
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Aaron Bredon
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bangor wrote:
"I understood that - the half of the influence on the left is then known to occur in the first 8 turns, and the half of the influence on the right is known to occur in the last 8 turns. Also if the 2 influence drops are always listed as lowest/highest (I don't have my copy in front of me right now), influence would show up in sectors 1-9 for the first half of the game, and sectors 10-18 for the second half. This is why I specified randomizing right/left before Jol-Nar looks at the card, and placing a token there so that influence will not show up there again."

Ah, I understand now. That makes sense.

"I disagree, my change strengthens Jol-Nar's ability - they are the only ones who have any pre-knowledge this way, whereas with the official way, anyone can see the leader, troops, and whether the opponent played a weapon or defense. I also have had quite a few timess where I have had a weapon and mercenary, or defense and tactical retreat, and was able to decide what to use based on what cards my opponent would and would not play."

The Jor Nal's ability to know what cards the other races have and are likely to play is the ability I was thinking about, not just their battle ability. I understand what you're are saying, but being able to hold back on strategy cards until you know what numbers you're facing is an ability Jor Nal has both in battle and somewhat after bidding (whatever the result) in knowing what other strategy cards the other guy is holding, and I think this house rule makes the other races more nearly equal in battle. Every race has to make a calculated risk in using strategy cards whereas the Jor Nal has a slight advantage, and I think your house rule takes that away. I can understand why it's an advantage and can make strategy cards more powerful because it reduces the possibility of misusing them, but I think it changes an aspect of bluff in the battles.


I am sorry, I don't understand how forcing players to commit their cards earlier weakens Jol-Nar or reduces the calculated risk.
If anything, it is just the opposite - playing the cards with the wheel forces you to commit (for example) your bacterial defense rather than your tactical retreat before you even know what your opponent dialed, what leader he played, or whether he is even playing a weapon. Jol-Nar has the ability to know whichever aspect he cares about, and Xxcha can prevent one specific weapon/defense, but everyone else has to play blind. This is a major part of the tenseness of Dune, and Rex significantly reduced it.

Rex also messed with this tenseness by increasing the number of weapon/defense cards, and removing 5 worthless cards from the deck - in Dune, there is a certain tenseness when you bid on a card, not knowing if you are being set up to buy a worthless card for more than it's worth, or if it is the weapon you need. In Rex, all the cards are of roughly equal worth, so the bidding is less tense.
 
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abredon wrote:
Rex also messed with this tenseness by increasing the number of weapon/defense cards, and removing 5 worthless cards from the deck - in Dune, there is a certain tenseness when you bid on a card, not knowing if you are being set up to buy a worthless card for more than it's worth, or if it is the weapon you need. In Rex, all the cards are of roughly equal worth, so the bidding is less tense.


I don't believe all cards are of roughly equal worth. For instance, without considering the situation I'd much rather get a Hylar III Pulse cannon than an Informant.

However, I do agree that the removal of useless cards was unfortunate. Now you know you're always getting something for your money, the question is just, did you get a bargain or were you cheated?
 
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"I am sorry, I don't understand how forcing players to commit their cards earlier weakens Jol-Nar or reduces the calculated risk.
If anything, it is just the opposite - playing the cards with the wheel forces you to commit (for example) your bacterial defense rather than your tactical retreat before you even know what your opponent dialed, what leader he played, or whether he is even playing a weapon. Jol-Nar has the ability to know whichever aspect he cares about, and Xxcha can prevent one specific weapon/defense, but everyone else has to play blind. This is a major part of the tenseness of Dune, and Rex significantly reduced it."

Hm, maybe I'm misunderstanding you. Let me go through the steps of a battle as I understand it based on what you've said:

1. Situation Report
2. Choose Strength
3. Commit Leader but not the slot
4. Reveal Battle Dial
5. (Here is where your house rule differs from the rules as stated) Choose how many strategy cards to play, if any, and then commit strategy cards.
6. Traitor (if any)
7. Resolve strategy cards
8. Determine winner

or is step 3-5

3. Commit leader and slot but not the exact strategy cards
4. Reveal Battle Dial
5. Choose any strategy card consistent with already committed leader slot choice

Jor Nal's ability has to occur then before step 7 to have any meaning, at least if Jor Nal asks about strategy cards.

I'm starting to think the second method looks doable. The first I think may weigh too powerfully in favor of strategy cards vs. military power.

And I agree that, if I'm understanding you, it can actually increase Jor Nal's ability, in that Jor Nal will have both the battle dial result and either strategy card or leader information (since the player won't have to use the ability to ask about the battle dial result).

"Rex also messed with this tenseness by increasing the number of weapon/defense cards, and removing 5 worthless cards from the deck - in Dune, there is a certain tenseness when you bid on a card, not knowing if you are being set up to buy a worthless card for more than it's worth, or if it is the weapon you need..."

There is still the tenseness of overpaying for a card (and if Jor Nal is playing properly, hopefully that's based on deliberate misdirection), and I rather like having the cards being situationally useful.


"In Rex, all the cards are of roughly equal worth, so the bidding is less tense."

I disagree with this, and I agree with Arne that not all cards are equal so there is still that level of uncertainty in bidding. Morever, many of the cards can be worthless depending on gameplay, so it's still possible to overbid on a card that turns out to be worthless, not to mention paying for a double or two. I think there are still worthless cards that you can overpay for.

Thanks again for your ideas. I'm starting to come around on the idea of battle dial revelation before strategy card choice, although I would probably go with my second version rather than the first (as I'm not now sure which version you were describing).
 
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bangor wrote:
"I am sorry, I don't understand how forcing players to commit their cards earlier weakens Jol-Nar or reduces the calculated risk.
If anything, it is just the opposite - playing the cards with the wheel forces you to commit (for example) your bacterial defense rather than your tactical retreat before you even know what your opponent dialed, what leader he played, or whether he is even playing a weapon. Jol-Nar has the ability to know whichever aspect he cares about, and Xxcha can prevent one specific weapon/defense, but everyone else has to play blind. This is a major part of the tenseness of Dune, and Rex significantly reduced it."

Hm, maybe I'm misunderstanding you. Let me go through the steps of a battle as I understand it based on what you've said:

1. Situation Report
2. Choose Strength
3. Commit Leader but not the slot
4. Reveal Battle Dial
5. (Here is where your house rule differs from the rules as stated) Choose how many strategy cards to play, if any, and then commit strategy cards.
6. Traitor (if any)
7. Resolve strategy cards
8. Determine winner

or is step 3-5

3. Commit leader and slot but not the exact strategy cards
4. Reveal Battle Dial
5. Choose any strategy card consistent with already committed leader slot choice

Jor Nal's ability has to occur then before step 7 to have any meaning, at least if Jor Nal asks about strategy cards.

I'm starting to think the second method looks doable. The first I think may weigh too powerfully in favor of strategy cards vs. military power.

And I agree that, if I'm understanding you, it can actually increase Jor Nal's ability, in that Jor Nal will have both the battle dial result and either strategy card or leader information (since the player won't have to use the ability to ask about the battle dial result).

"Rex also messed with this tenseness by increasing the number of weapon/defense cards, and removing 5 worthless cards from the deck - in Dune, there is a certain tenseness when you bid on a card, not knowing if you are being set up to buy a worthless card for more than it's worth, or if it is the weapon you need..."

There is still the tenseness of overpaying for a card (and if Jor Nal is playing properly, hopefully that's based on deliberate misdirection), and I rather like having the cards being situationally useful.


"In Rex, all the cards are of roughly equal worth, so the bidding is less tense."

I disagree with this, and I agree with Arne that not all cards are equal so there is still that level of uncertainty in bidding. Morever, many of the cards can be worthless depending on gameplay, so it's still possible to overbid on a card that turns out to be worthless, not to mention paying for a double or two. I think there are still worthless cards that you can overpay for.

Thanks again for your ideas. I'm starting to come around on the idea of battle dial revelation before strategy card choice, although I would probably go with my second version rather than the first (as I'm not now sure which version you were describing).


No, What I am saying is:
1. Situation Report
2. Jol-Nar and Xxcha abilities
3. Choose Strength
4. Commit Leader AND attack card AND defense card, if any (hold cards against dial with the hand holding dial) - Here is where my rule differs - you are committed to use these cards here, rather than after the reveal, which is the Rex rules.
5. Reveal Battle Dial with cards
6. Traitor (if any)
7. Resolve strategy cards
8. Determine winner

Rex rules as written:
1. Situation Report
2. Jol-Nar and Xxcha abilities
3. Choose Strength
4. Commit Leader and slot but not the exact strategy cards
5. Reveal Battle Dial
6. Choose any strategy card consistent with already committed leader slot choice
7. Traitor (if any)
8. Resolve strategy cards
9. Determine winner
 
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Adam Rouse
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I actually like Rex more, but maybe that's because we always have new players in our games, so our games end up with a lot of variety as they figure things out. If regular play inevitably leads to default wins every game, I would be disappointed, too. I have always liked gambling and bluffing my way through early battles, as did some in my old Dune group, so I feel our games would end sooner anyway.

Unfortunately, without a regular Rex group, all I can do is speculate.

Also, I did not understand the spice exchange rule that way. I believe you are supposed to be able to exchange spice freely. The designers when questioned about why the Emperor's ally ability is so redundant (given the idea you can exchange spice with anyone already) said that it was just to emphasize why House Corrino is such a valuable ally.

Or something like that. I will have to look this up when I am home. I would like to believe we didn't play wrong for years.
 
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adamxpaul wrote:

Also, I did not understand the spice exchange rule that way. I believe you are supposed to be able to exchange spice freely. The designers when questioned about why the Emperor's ally ability is so redundant (given the idea you can exchange spice with anyone already) said that it was just to emphasize why House Corrino is such a valuable ally.


I read the same thing, and based on the thread of exactly what Dune's Rules mean as written, I interpret the designer's answer differently - He actually said that there was a difference between the Emperor ability and other people's ability to transfer spice.
The dune Rules (as written) explicitly prevent people from giving other players spice except by paying for an ally's shipment. Note that the Bribery/Negotiation rules do not provide a method for transferring spice, they merely say that spice may be part of a negotiation, therefore the only way a player may provide another player with spice is by allying with them and paying for their shipping, or by being the Emperor.
 
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I think different groups played it differently. I played Dune with a group like Adam who allowed spice transfer at any time. We found that it made things a little too swingy in terms of alliances, as everyone could literally be bought and sold from turn to turn and could essentially switch and betray from one turn to the next. I personally thought it was a little too dynamic, so the escrow house rule seemed a good medium to allow the spice trade market to exist, but to both distinguish the Emperor and allow for some continuity rather than constant bought-and-sold betrayals.

I think similarly for Rex that an escrow, if you're going to allow for influence transfer, is a better bet than allowing anyone at any time to give influence. I think like Dune that an escrow allows for influence trading, but still distinguishes Lacax's ability and doesn't make things too swingy. When coupled with an even distribution of cease-fire cards I think this can make Rex a lot of fun.
 
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Sorry if taking this thread on a tangent. I'll hide my comment on the old spice bribery rules in case it is distracting from the main discussion.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I almost dread to ask this. I feel my gaming world is about to be turned upside down. But could you point out where exactly it "explicitly" prevents the transfer of spice for other means than shipment?

I see under XII-E "How an Alliance Functions" that it says allies may pay for each others' bids and shipments. In the next section on Bribery it says spice may be part of a deal.

Then in a Q&A we have:

Quote:
13) Given that the Emperor's special alliance power says, "You may
give spice to your allies to purchase treachery cards, to revive
tokens and to make shipments. Their payment for any treachery
cards even with your own spice comes back to you", what does
this imply about the ability of other players to exchange spice?
a) No other players may evern exchange spice, even though
this contravenes rules XII.E.3-4 and XIII.C.
b) Only allies may exchange spice, and then only according to
rules XII.E.3-4, even though this contravenes rule XIII.C, and
effectively makes the Emperor's special alliance power
meaningless.
c) All players may exchange spice, even though this
effectively makes the Emperor's special alliance power
meaningless.


Note: This was confirmed by Jack Kittredge, who also says,
“Emperor’s special alliance power is broader than that”. What this
statement means I simply don’t know.


*The bolded choice is what the designer selected. I don't know why he was given multiple choice instead of letting him write his own answer.


I could definitely see your interpretation. It makes sense and might make for a better game. But it seems like either the bribery rule or the alliance rules are just clarifications. I am missing where one view is explicitly confirmed. It was never the clearest of rule sets.

I lean toward being able to bribe anyone with spice because though you can bribe an ally, it seems most obvious that rules called "Bribery" would be meant for bribing enemies. I'm making an assumption here, of course.
 
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