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Subject: Adaptation: Ideas for a AS Expansion rss

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Samuel Wallace
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I've only had Arctic Scavengers for a week, but I've loved the few games I had the chance to play. I do see the point that a lot of people are making--the cards in the base game + HQ expansion don't come near to filling out the design space available in the Arctic Scavengers world. I have not yet fully explored what the game can do, but I know I'll want more eventually, and in a sense I already do want more.

With that said, here are some ideas I had for an expansion to this game. It plays off the impression that there are not a lot of clearly divergent paths that you can take in the game. Yes, having an engineer will change your approach significantly, but for the most part you're digging a lot in the early game, moving to bigger mercs, and then fighting a lot in the skirmish. There's clearly game-to-game variability, but not as much as a game of, say, Dominion.

In "Adaptation," my totally off-the-cuff expansion, new mercenaries, buildings and tools allow characters to specialize more heavily in digging, hunting, and fighting. For digging: Vagrants lets you peek at the junkyard in a free action; Gadgeteer allows you to use two tools; Forager gives you food and meds but costs a tool. For hunting: Survivalist gives a great hunt, but knocks down your fight score; Crossbow lets you swap a character's hunt and fight scores. There are also expensive and weak characters like Followers and Training Squad that you gain mainly for their game-end population values. Skirmishing isn't devalued, though: Combat Medics and Engineers reward you for sending strong teams to the skirmish, and Rangers are a strong mercenary built for fighting. Contested Resources add something for each "pathway": Trappers are a hunter's dream; Rescue Teams help you dig faster; and Smoke Bombs let you steal a skirmish from your weak opponents.

The new mechanic I used (inspired by similar threads on the board, such as one by patcon) is Events. There are four events buried in the Contested Resources deck that change the game up significantly, giving more information about upcoming cards, bonuses for winning the skirmish, bonuses for fighting hard in the skirmish. One, the Blizzard, buries a number of character cards in the junkyard, ready for digging. That card notwithstanding, the Event cards tend to favor those with strong fighting decks. If you're thinking of building a hunter deck, you might still consider grabbing an extra brawler or two to ramp up your fighting when a key event happens. Players who can adapt to the cards available (8-10 mercenaries out of at least 22 total) and to the game state will be best off.

DISCLAIMER: I know/hope Robert's probably going to announce the Deception expansion in a couple days. I will definitely buy that! I'm just impatient, and I love homebrewing expansions for my favorite games. If these cards get a good reception, I'll probably mock up some for my personal use. And if Robert likes any of these cards enough to adapt one into a real expansion, I'll be flattered. That said, these have not been playtested at all nor even given that much individual thought, so I welcome any comments or suggestions.

Here are all the cards:

Events
(Events are shuffled into the Contested Resources deck; the initiator may view the card as usual, but nothing underneath. If Open Ground reveals another Event card, skip it, and then shuffle the whole CR deck).
Blizzard: Everyone who sent a person to the skirmish must choose one of those people and shuffle it into the deck. Also, shuffle 2 refugees and 4 mercenaries not in this game into the junkyard
Open Ground: Reveal the next three cards of the Contested Resources deck. The next three winners of the skirmish may choose the card they want. The Initiator card doesn’t move during this time.
Fresh Recruits: The next three winners of the skirmish gain a scavenger as well as the top card of the Contested Resources deck.
Abandoned Town: Everyone whose fight score is 5 or more in the next two skirmishes may perform a free 2-dig on the junkyard OR the engineering schematics.

Tools
Flexitool: Reveal this card; the player on your left chooses two actions for which this tool will have +2.
Ammonia: 0/0/1 med/0. You may discard this. If you do, all other players discard a card.
Poison Dart: 0/0/0/+1. Choose a player in the skirmish. They must discard a tribe member of their choice with at least 1 fight (blocked by Medic)
Crossbow: Swap the hunt and fight stats of the tribe member who carries this.

Mercenaries (Food cost,Med cost, Draw/Dig/Hunt/Fight, Population score)
Vagrant (1 food, -/1/1/-, 1 pop): You may reveal this card to look at the top two cards in the junkyard
Suicide Bomber (2 food): (-/1/0/3, 1 pop): If used in a fight, junk this card.
Survivalist (2 meds; 1/-/3/1): Hunt: You have -1 for this skirmish.
Combat Engineer (3 food, 1/1/-/1, 1 pop): If you win a skirmish with this card, you may take a Dig action in the junkyard OR schematics pile, with a score equal to your fight score
Combat Medic (3 food): -/-/1 med/0): If you lose a skirmish with this card, you may place one card you used on top of your deck
Foragers (3 food, junk tool; 0/0/1 hunt + 1 med/0; 2 pop)
Ranger (2 food, 2 meds; 1/0/1/3; 2 pop): If more than 1 player sends Ranger(s) to the skirmish, the players with the weakest Ranger groups must discard 1 Ranger.
Gadgeteer (4 food, 0/0/0/2, 1 pop): Can hold two tools
Logistics Expert (2 meds, 1 food, 1/2/-/-, 1 pop): If you dig with this card, you may put 1 card you acquire into your hand immediately
Training Squad (1 med, 3 food); +1/+1/+1/+1; 3 pop)
Followers (8 food/med; 1/1/1/2; 4 pop)
Technician (1 med, 2 food; 1/-/1/-; 1 pop) Draw: You may discard 1 tool to draw 2 more cards.


Buildings (Time, Cards)

Icehouse (5): You may divide up your Hire action between two Mercenaries. If you do, you may not reserve more than two cards for the skirmish.
Training Camp (4): All your refugees have a Fight of 1.
Observatory (4): You may discard a Refugee to peek at the top card of all three decks.
Laboratory (4): Each turn, you may junk a Refugee to gain two medicine for that turn.

Contested Resources:
Rescue Team ( 1/3/-/-, 1 pop): When you dig, you may gain an additional card from the junkyard in addition to the 1 card you are normally entitled to.
Smoke Bomb (tool): If you have less than 3 fight in this skirmish, you may discard a person from each of your opponents’ skirmish team. If no team has at least 5 fight left, you win the skirmish. (Does not require a person; cannot be blocked by medic or discarded by sniper team, but can be disabled by saboteur)
Trapper (-/-/3/1, 1 pop): When this hunts or fights with a net or spear, add an extra +1 to your score.
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Robert K Gabhart
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Great ideas. I'll definitely give some of these a try.
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Pat Connolly
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I'm not going to comment on each item, but here are my thoughts on a few of them.

Events
I think Robert has already indicated that weather will be a factor in Deception. Blizzard and Open Ground seem like good candidates for this. Fresh Recruits and Abandoned Town seem out of synch with the one-action per card concept of the game. Also, it might be overly complicated to keep track of event effects spanning several turns. If a weather card is revealed each turn there would be no need for carryover effects.
I've already posted (in a thread about the 'white card') some ideas on what the Blizzard might do, so I won't repeat them here.
I would rename Open Ground as Clear Weather to keep the weather theme. Revealing the next Contested Resource would make sense thematically, as everyone can see what new thing is wandering in. (I imagine that the initiator has that foreknowledge because the new thing is wandering in from his direction.)
There would be a lot more 'generally crappy' weather cards to reflect the harsh environment. Maybe there could be a couple of degrees of crappiness, impacting different actions. Flurries has no effect. High Winds reduces dig by 1. Extreme Cold reduces fight by 1. Snow reduces hunt by 1. Heavy Snow reduces build by 1 and draws another weather card, so 2 effects this turn.

Tools
Flexitool - I don't like the idea that another player decides what this tool can be used for this turn. It doesn't make sense thematically. But I do like the idea of a more powerful version of the multitool. Perhaps there could be two new tools that have a total +4 on multiple actions, like the rifle has +2 hunt and +2 fight. Coming up with tools that make thematic sense will be the challenge. A Crowbar could be +2 for dig and +2 for fight. An Axe might be +2 fight, +1 dig, +1 hunt for a total of +4. But what tool would logically give +2 dig and +2 hunt?
Crossbow - Obviously must be in the game. I like your idea of making hunters into fighters and vice versa, but it should say may swap hunt and fight stats and I would add +1 hunt and +1 fight.
Ammonia and Poison Dart - I don't particularly like these as you've described them. Poison Dart is essentially like a Sniper Team except the user doesn't get to pick the target. Ammonia seems kind of weird, but I like the basic concept. Maybe a Tear Gas Canister which makes all players (including the deployer) at a skirmish discard one random tribe member card from the skirmish - a saboteur may disable the canister before it releases the tear gas.

Mercenaries
I'll focus on the ones I like, some just for the name. I'm tossing out ideas and just making guesses on relative costs, so play balance may be off.
Survivalist - Costs 1 med + 1 food. No draw, 1 dig, 2 hunt, 2 fight. Population 1.
Gadgeteer, but I would call him MacGyver (if you can get permission) - Costs 1 med + 2 food. No draw, 1 dig, 0 hunt, 2 fight. Population 2. When digging, can turn a junk into a net, spear, shovel, or pickaxe by rummaging through the junkyard until the desired card is found and then shuffling the junkyard.
Combat Engineer - Costs 2 med + 3 food. 1 draw, 2 dig, 0 hunt, 1 fight. Population 2. Can dig in the schematics pile. Can refurbish up to 3 used tools (player's choice) and shuffle these tools from the discard pile into the draw pile. Immune to snipers. If deployed in a group, saboteurs do not affect any tools used in a group with him.
Combat Medic - Costs 2 med + 2 food. 1 draw, 0 dig, 1 hunt + 1 med, 1 fight. Population 2. Can save any one tribe member from a sniper attack. Can revive up to 3 tired tribe members (player's choice) and shuffle these tribe members from the discard pile into the draw pile. If deployed in a group, snipers do not affect any tribe members in a group with him.

This would generate two new actions - refurbish (Engineer and Combat Engineer) and revive (Medic and Combat Medic). Could even expand the new medic 'save' action to include an engineer stopping attempted sabotage.

More ideas generated by Samuel's great post, but it's late and I need to get to bed.
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Robert K Gabhart
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Quick clarifications:
- Events are slated for a later expansion, but not Deception
- There is already a Crossbow in Deception
- There is already a Tear Gas card in Deception
- There is a CR called Combat Medics in Deception as well

Thanks.
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Simon Agner Holm
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uhh. a later expansion!?wow Can you elaborate on that just a bit?
 
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Pat Connolly
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I'm back! What I'm seeing in these expansion ideas are things which add variety to the AS experience, but are likely to lengthen the game into a more epic struggle against the elements. But what's so bad about that, if you can keep the original quick version? You can choose how long you want the game to be by choosing what expansion elements to include. Kind of like getting to chooae between 3 different game lengths in Archipelago, although even the "short" game doesn't seem to be.

Icehouse - I like the idea of a food building, but the entire landscape is a big icehouse so we need a better name. I'm also not sure I like the idea of hiring two mercs in one turn. It would be much more useful to be able to store food from turn to turn (like armories do with tools, bunkers do with people, and pharmacies do with pills or medkits) in order to hire one of those 'hungry' mercs without tying up so many of your tribe members on a single turn to do so.

The current Hydroponics Garden generates 1 'free' food each turn, but since food can't carry over to another turn that seems like a rather weak building, especially given it's time factor of 4. By the time you build it, how much food will it actually ever generate, and will you ever get to use the merc you purchased?

How about a Grocery or Smokehouse or Kitchen which allows you to store food generated on one turn for use in another turn? You would need some sort of marker to designate stored food, but that could be handled with food tokens, or food cards.

Which brings me to another idea, a junkyard food item called Canned Food worth 1 food and is treated like a tool or found med. This could be a low-level version of a more potent junkyard or CR food item, such as Energy Bars or Food Pallet. Even if you don't have a way to store regular food, these are treated like tools or found med and can be used when they show up in your hand.
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Robert K Gabhart
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Agner wrote:
uhh. a later expansion!?wow Can you elaborate on that just a bit?


I have several expansions-worth of content. Right now the focus is on Deception, but after that, I also have the following: military-centric content, weather, uses for junk, and mutants.
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Pat Connolly
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MUTANTS!devil

I love the idea, but what would mutant people do?
There already is a Wolf Pack as a resource, what about other animals, maybe even mutant animals?
Could make hunting more like digging and have a Wilderness pile to mimic the Junkyard?
You might get a cute little bunny; a "congregation", "covey", or "invisibleness" of ptarmigan; or come up empty.
You might even come across a dangerous animal - bear, rabid fox, or a mutant killer lemming - and have someone in the hunting party killed if you doesn't have enough hunting power. Allow a defeated hunting party to save everyone by retreating back to camp and abandoning the hunt - clearly you would do this if there is only one person in the party and dead men can't bring food back to camp anyway. Be a good reason to bring along a refugee - you don't have to outrun the bear, just the refugee, and you can keep hunting. devil
Or you could play a more mellow, less dangerous game and leave out the dangerous animals, you big wus!
That way hunting is more like the real-life crapshoot that it is.
Your bounty is brought back to camp and is used as food for hiring on the next turn, If you have a Kitchen (a building for processing food I suggested in a previous post) you can choose to treat the food as a resource to be used later when it makes it into your hand.
You might even have some animals that could be domesticated and used as tools, rather than just killed as food, if they are caught with a net thus making nets more useful. Reindeer could act as pack animals, allowing the retrieval of two items if sent to the Junkyard on a dig or two animals if sent to the Wilderness on a hunting trip. Dogs could act as hunting dogs to increase the likelihood of a successful hunt or as a K-9 unit to add strength to a skirmish. These could be used as food later if necessary.

Once used to hire a merc, a food resource is removed from the game.

Here's two examples of how it could work.

#1
1) You send a hunter and a refugee with 2 spears, for a hunt strength of 4, out to the Wilderness to hunt.
2) You draw as many cards as your hunt strength so you draw the top 4 cards. They were a 1-food Arctic Hare, a 2-food Ptarmigan, a 3-food Reindeer, (looking good so far) and a Bear. (Bears are dangerous and must be dealt with before you can hunt for food. They are large powerful predators and take 5 hunt strength to kill or 4 to drive off, and provide 2 food if killed and taken back to camp.)
3) You don't have enough to kill the bear, but enough to drive her off, so nobody dies and the bear goes back into the Wilderness. note: If you face more than one dangerous animal you use your full hunt strength against each animal, resolving each individually but only losing one tribe member no matter how many animals you can't kill or drive off. They feast on the one killed member and ignore the rest of you.
4) Now you harvest one of the remaining animals to bring back to camp. Since you didn't bring a net, 'harvesting' means 'killing' and your only option is to bring back a carcass for food. So you clearly kill and take the Reindeer worth 3 food.
5) The other animals you came across weren't harvested and scamper back into the Wilderness, which is reshuffled after every hunting trip.

#2
1) Scavenger and refugee with 1 Net for a hunt strength of 3.
2) Draw 3 cards from the Wilderness - 5-food Walrus, Reindeer, and Bear.
3) You can't kill or drive off the Bear, so you trip the refugee and the Bear eats him before wandering back into the Wilderness.
4) You now harvest one of the remaining animals, but since you brought a net 'harvest' could mean 'kill' or 'capture'. So you could kill the Walrus for a high food yield or capture the Reindeer to use as a pack animal and maybe less food later.
5) Whatever animal you don't take back to camp goes back into the wilderness.
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gusgus mcgee

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Great stuff, cool ideas.
 
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Jo Bartok
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As long as it is not mostly mutants, no need for another zombie game ;-P.
I do also like more the scavenge and wild theme than the waterworld-mad-max-military one. It is also what sets this game apart - low tech, survival, post apocalyptic.
 
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