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Subject: Let's brainstorm: your Variant ideas rss

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David Barlowe
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Let's brainstorm!

[edit 7/27: Apparently there are some ideas that were originally included in the game that might make it into an expansion someday - check out this thread with a comment from the designer on one of them:]

Triumph cards from early beta

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Here are some top-of-the-head ideas I have for increasing variability/options in the game:

1. Variable Game length
After a player enters the final turn on the point/prestige track, flip a card from the deck. If it is a size "1", the game ends at 20 points as usual, a "2" at 22 points, and a "3" at 26 points.

Advantages: slow down those who would rush the end with trading/refining, adds tension to the finish.

Disadvantages: lengthens the game by at least an additional turn, without necessarily changing who the winner will be unless it's a tight game.

2. Starting hand built by draft
Before play, deal out 6 cards per player, FACE UP in the middle of the table. Players take turns drafting one of these cards to their starting hand.

Adv: More strategic play, eliminates randomness from the startup, players have more control over their game initially to allow for gambits/combos.

Dis: Increases play time, groupthink could lead to certain strategies every game.

3. Last minute negotiations!
After board and player hands are built, insert the Color Blind card into the deck. When revealed as part of a Draw, replace in the draw deck and shuffle it. When played as a reinforcement, or drawn from the deck as part of combat resolution, the "Organians" (ancient all-powerful peaceful aliens) interrupt your Battle forcing a peaceful settlement. As a reward for avoiding bloodshed, they grant players the ability to gain prestige for each ship each player individually "saved" from the battle. Both sides MAY discard a card per ship they have involved from their played reinforcements, or their hand, to gain one (1) VP/card. Attacker retreats their ships to a different gate on the same card.
Card counts as -1 VP if held in hand at end of game.

Adv: Occasionally allows a weak defender to "de-fang" an aggressive player for one battle. Alternatively, a clever attacker can set up a much larger VP boost for themselves by ganging up a large number of ships on a single opposing cruiser, at the cost of cards from their hand.

Dis: Increases randomness, potential complexity and analysis, decreases game length randomly.

4. Reference Card re-shuffle
After building starting hands, insert both reference cards into the deck. When drawn during the game, the drawing player immediately discards it and replaces with two cards from the deck, keeping one of the two. Discard pile is then immediately reshuffled into the draw pile.

Adv: Decreases "card counting" for those who would try to keep track of "2's" and "3's", or colors played.

Dis: Adds another rule, eliminates memory advantages from card counting, if you happen to be someone who can and wishes to do it

========

* I have not playtested these ideas (yet), but I will report back when I do.
* I welcome your comments and feedback.
* Add your own variant ideas to this thread!
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"Let each man pass his days in that wherein his skill is greatest" Propertius Sextus
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I'd like some way to seed the impulse track before the first turn is taken.
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Richard Dewsbery
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Although the empty impulse track is an important way to balance what would otherwise be an advantage to the players who go early in the turn order.

I'm still finding Impulse plenty varied enough "out of the box". And I haven't even begun to think about the nuances of gameplay.
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Damon Herren
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RDewsbery wrote:
Although the empty impulse track is an important way to balance what would otherwise be an advantage to the players who go early in the turn order.


Perhaps you could draft the impulse track in reverse player order.
 
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Martin Grider
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I've played a bunch of games, and I have two variant ideas to share:

1. Variable board sizes / configurations - This is an idea I had recently. Essentially, instead of starting with the standard configuration of starting cards, just play around with other configurations. The initial idea was to make the board infinitely expandable, so you could move away from the center as well as toward it, exploring new cards as you did so, and thus having actions that were less contested and more defendable, and more for your personal use. After that, it occurred to me that the standard configuration might not be ideal for different numbers of players... it's awfully big in a 2-player game, for example, and you could probably have fun by removing some of the cards away from the two starting players to make the game faster, etc.

2. off-turn actions - When playing a game with 4+ players, it can really drag waiting for your turn to play. One idea I had for mitigating this (months ago, when I played a few 6 player games in a row) was to allow everyone to simultaneously execute all the actions on the impulse. Maybe simultaneously would be too difficult. Maybe you do 'em in turn order, but everyone gets to take each action in turn. You'd still have a player whose turn it is, and they're the one adding to the impulse, executing their plan, etc., but then everyone would still have something that happens each turn.

As with the OP, I haven't tried any of these out yet. I've played probably 15 or so games of Impulse. Enjoy it quite a bit, but it's no longer my MUST PLAY game ATM.
 
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Mark Delano
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Phuntom wrote:

1. Variable turn length
After a player enters the final turn on the point/prestige track, flip a card from the deck. If it is a size "1", the game ends at 20 points as usual, a "2" at 22 points, and a "3" at 26 points.

Advantages: slow down those who would rush the end with trading/refining, adds tension to the finish.

Disadvantages: lengthens the game by at least an additional turn, without necessarily changing who the winner will be unless it's a tight game.



Change this to:

1. Variable End Condition:
After a player enters the final turn on the point/prestige track, flip a card from the deck and put to the side by the track.
When someone reaches 20 points add 1,3,7 for a card of size 1,2,3 to the second place score.
If this total exceeds 20 that is the new endgame amount.


That should make sure that the extra time is only added in a tight game.


Alternatively, for a slightly more chaotic endpoint:

1. Variable End Condition:
After each player enters the final turn on the point/prestige track, flip a card from the deck and put to the side by the track.
When someone reaches 20 points add the total size of the flipped cards to the second place score.
If this total exceeds 20 that is the new endgame amount.
 
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Justin Dugger

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darthnice wrote:
I'd like some way to seed the impulse track before the first turn is taken.


This is not a great idea, IMO. Turn order already puts early players at a 1 card advantage over those that follow, removing the impulse action penalty seems like a recipe for first turn eliminations, or worse, first turn irreversible hobblings:

"Oh, I just moved a cruiser to your side of the sector core, good luck ever getting in. Or moving your transports to the middle sector ring!"

Anyways, I've only gotten two plays in, so I'm not yet thirsty for variety. Perhaps some variety in card backgrounds; nebulae or asteroids and the like, if they don't impact legibility much. Mechanically, maybe some size 4 cards, or some split gem color cards, or a new color.

If you want to get clever, perhaps introduce a 'broken combo' expansion called 'To Infinity and Beyond' that deliberately adds infinite combos to the game
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David Barlowe
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Variant idea

Shock Wave

During a battle, after the reinforcement step, just before turning over the “card per cruiser” to determine the number of icons, each Interstellar Federation (IF) involved MAY (defending side announcing verbally first, then attacking side may choose to respond), but does not have to, announce that they wish to attempt a SHOCK WAVE with their entire fleet of Cruisers.

To attempt: One (1) card is drawn and revealed for each IF attempting a SHOCK WAVE. If a THREE icon card is revealed, that IF automatically does THREE (3) icons of damage PER Cruiser they have involved the battle. Example: 2 Cruisers = 6 icons, 3 Cruisers = 9 icons. Note: only one card is drawn for each IF, not one card per Cruiser as with a standard, non Shock-Wave battle.

A card revealed with one or two icons results in a complete miss for that IF, with their ships (not including reinforcements) generating zero (0) icons.

After the Shock Wave is attempted, and normal attacks are calculated, icons through reinforcements are added as usual. Defender wins ties as usual.

If both sides of a battle survive, having missed their Shock Wave attempt and no reinforcements having been played, BOTH sides immediately attempt a second Shock Wave, and if necessary, a third. After a third attempt, if both sides have still not generated a Shock Wave, both sides Cruisers are removed from the board and no VP's are generated for either side. (Simulations showed that Cruiser engines and batteries would likely not survive the extreme forces involved in multiple Shock Wave generations, and it is assumed that ships would vaporize under the stress.)

-=-=-=-

The Herculese found in their tests that Shock Waves were most useful when an attacker or defender was physically outnumber by their opponent, and only a successful Shock Wave gave a force of ships at least a mathematical chance of victory. The potential benefit of a Shock Wave was ultimately so narrowly applicable, that it was outweighed by the cost of the Technology itself. Nonetheless, rumors persist that some IF's secretly outfit key fleets with the technology although this has not been independently confirmed.

-=-=-=-

Comments/suggestions welcome
 
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Chad Meyer
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My wife and I have tried to play two-player Impulse with a smaller board. Specifically, we tried starting with the board slightly smaller -- instead of a hexagon with 3-4-5-4-3 cards per row, we made it 2-3-4-3-2, with the sector core in row 2 or 4 now (i.e. off-center) and both players' starting positions being in row 3. Your starting cruiser would be in the gate facing your opponent.

This was motivated by the fact that we felt so far away from each other and most games barely if ever moved our fleets into each other's space. This variation would put you two moves from patrolling your opponent's home space rather than three.

We played this variant twice, so far, and haven't particularly liked it. We found that this arrangement was a bit too close for comfort, and it was just too easy to take out your opponent with a good draw. That said, we have only played one 5p and one 4p game, and it seems to me that the strategies for the 2p game with fewer cards could be similar to a 4p-6p game.
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David Barlowe
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Open map

Perhaps play the game with the map "already discovered", face up?

Since the map cards can be exchanged with those in the hand, it might be an interesting variant to try, as you could "daisy-chain" Command cards and other actions for some sweet combos!

Might have to include some type of action-limited to keep things from getting too far out of hand though. Hmmm.
 
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