My son and I sat down to play a game of Mag Blast 2nd edition. After playing a few times before, we decided to make some slight house rules.
1) you cannot attack or use your special ability for the first two turns (it was going to be just one, but we opted for two suggested by my son). This was to help improve fleet size and help get cards that will help from the get go (ie. fighters for carriers, defenses, direct hits)
2) Blasts are not "certain" hits. We used a 6 sided die and a roll of 6 would be a miss. Also, if you use evasive action or flux, these must be used before the roll. If you miss there is no damage and you cannot play a direct hit or "other" helpfull card. Even if missed, the ship is to considered to have fired.
I had the special ability to block two blasts a game, he had the abilty to get 6 cards per turn.
The first two rounds went by rather quickly. I was amazed to see that my son was not able to get even 1 ship added to his fleet as I was able to add 2 ships using the reinforcement cards.
I was quick to punch a hole in my sons top scout ship on the first turn and open up his home ship. Much to my dismay, I found out why he had not put any ships into play. He started with a carrier and was holding 3 fighter cards. He was able to play these and knock out a ship in my fleet.
With the second round I tried to take out his carrier and did slight damage to it. He used his fighters again to knock out another ship and I was left with my starting four ships again.
Third turn saw me move some ships around and I was able to put damage on his home ship, from the top which he could not cover. He again unleashed a barrage or fighters, this time backed up with a bomber (OUCH). Another ship bites the dust and I have a hole in my left side.
I was determined to win on the fourth turn as I had a blast, direct hit, and catastrophic damage card. I moved my ships into the proper firing place and unloaded with a blast. All I needed was a 1-5 on a D6.
I rolled a 6 and missed.
While he danced I curesed myself for thinking of these new rules, but loved them at the same time. Nothing was for sure!
He responded by going for the kill on my home ship with his fighters and bombers. Much to his dismay I held a flux card and stopped the bomber attack. I then used my special ability to block the other two fighter attacks. He was sure he could take me out and looked as bleak as I did the last turn after missing my blast.
The next turn I drew a boarding party card. I still had the direct hit. I position my ships and attacked his carrier and scored a hit (not a 6, phew). I used boarding party to steal his carrier and his offensive capabilities with it. He was stunned.
He could barely attack me the following turn.
On my next turn I got the dual fire card, which allowed one of my ships to fire 2x. This would allow me to fire two 3 blast damage cards and take him out.
I only needed to roll 2 six sided dice.
Luck was on my side as I hit him twice and won the game.
He's a much nicer looser than I am.
Conclusion: I like the house rules we implemented. I think another play would only cement this. The rolling a die and a miss on a 6 really adds to the game (some may not like this as it adds randomness, but I cannot see how a blast is a certain hit) It makes playing your perfect attack, well - not so certain.
Also, the two round rule was great. More ships means better planning and strategy which is only good for everybody involved.
Not a bad variation and I can see it helping, but it doesn't address the core problem with the game; that is, the lack of defense cards/abilities.
The attack only nature of the game shortens game time but at the expense of strategy. Most of the time you're a sitting duck as you've described. Another variation we've tried is permitting the dumping of any 3 resources to block a blast. It's a slight improvement and this also has the side effect of weakening that insanely powerful race with the ability to block blasts by dropping 2 resources.
If there were just more evasive actions than two in the deck, the game would be better.
I like the idea of delaying the special ability. I'll try incorporating that one next time I play.
My son and I played a second time with this version and it got even more fun and the game actually lasted about 18-20 turns, in a two player game.
It helped he had the ability to draw three ships and I had the one that would allow me to block 2 blasts.
This time only 1 six was rolled by me but it was not to bad. Between us about 8 ships were lost before I won.
The two rounds without attacking or special ability helps the game sooo much as you could shore up defenses and ship cards. When we finally attacked each other we had 6 ships each!