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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: one more ISC variant.... as if we need another rss

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marc lecours
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Hi, our game group has tried a new Imperial Strategy card variant and it worked well in a 6 player game. It probably would not work in a game with less players.

Here goes:
1. Every player may choose the ISC only once during the game.


That's it, very simple and it works.

Logic behind the rule:
You gain 2 VPs because your race has uncovered and proclaimed a claim on the imperial throne. Each race has one claim to make. Once made, you have proclaimed your race in the running to be emperor. If you do not make a claim then you are unlikely to become the emperor.


The effects on the game:
1. Each of the 6 races MUST make the claim sooner or later. But only one race can claim it per turn. SO the ISC will be chosen on 6 turns during the game.
2. One player took it on turn one since he was last to pick and did not need warfare or diplomacy. He got it out of the way early.
3. The ISC then went two turns without being picked. The player who then picked it got 2 bonus counters.
4. The ISC then went one turn without being picked. The 3rd player to get the ISC got it with a bonus counter.
5. It was now turn 7 and 3 players had not taken it yet. They started to panic a bit. This is when taking the initiative to then take the ISC started to occur.

Some side effects:
1. The initiative was not used to pick the ISC in the early rounds.
2. The initiative was not automatically chosen by the player to the left of the previous speaker.
3. Since the ISC was not chosen every turn, some of the less popular strategies got picked a little more often.
4. Since the ISC did not get picked often in the early game, it meant that the card's secondary ability occured less frequently. The meant that that there was no second build from space docks. This meant that if you built cheap units (i.e. fighters and ground forces) you would have lots of unused ressources (i.e. wasted ressources). So in the first few turns (until we had several space docks) we built more expensive units that usual and less fighters which use up a lot of space dock building capacity.

Overall we really liked this variant.
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Christopher Halbower
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Vic Mackey
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Why not eliminate the ISC altogether and play to 8VP's instead?
It gives you all the benefits you described without being forced to take the ISC.


Or use a different ISC that doesn't give free VP's (and then play to 8VP's)?
It gives you all the benefits you described without being forced to take the ISC AND it gives you another viable option for a strategy selection.

 
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marc lecours
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good point.

But I like the ISC. I just did not like having no choice of when to choose it.We were choosing it whenever we could. A strategy choice that always gets chosen first is not a choice. A strategy choice that never gets chosen is no better is giving options. By eliminating the ISC it eliminates an option which is not a solution.

Other people have proposed reducing the ISC to one VP. Which is not bad. But we tried the restriction of choosing ISC only once per game. And it worked well in a 6 player game. It game some difficult timing decisions to make for some players.

Also it fits into the theme. If we play with this option again, as a race chooses the ISC they will have to puplicly announce why they think they have a legitimate claim to the imperial throne (they will have to invent a little story.)
 
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Christopher Halbower
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Vic Mackey
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I agree that if you have to choose the ISC, it eliminates a decision. And if you eliminate the ISC, you eliminate a decision.

Thus, to increase the number of choices, I use a variant of the ISC that is viable but: doesn't give free points and you needn't take it to win. Any such ISC (mine or someone else's) is the best solution. You have 8 legitimate choices for which strategy you want; 8 choices.

As it is, you only have 3: ISC if available, Iniative if ISC is not available, anything else if Iniative is not available.

With you proposal, you still must take the ISC but you have some say as to when you must take it. And you don't have to take the Iniative either. This is a step forward.

My only real problems with this is: it still gives you free points (big problem) and you still must take it (not so big).
 
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Scott Lewis
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Well, from a gameplay perspective, I think this solution sounds good to me. I personally don't mind the card as-is, though I see why some don't.

For me, I think one difference between this method and the "simply play to 8 without it" or "play to 8 with a variant ISC" is that yes, you still get 2 points, and everyone can only do it once, so it does essentially make it an 8-point game. However, it also has the drawback of "if you take it, you let everyone else build without activating".

As such, I can perceive some players being able to maneuver their way through the VPs to the point where they don't need to take it, and choose not to in order to prevent their opponents from building. That can be a concern - yes, you get 2 points, but you also let them build.

Obviously, this is also the case in the game as written, but if you can only pick it once, at any time, but ONLY once, things could be a little different, because you'd have to make the claim to get the points (or do good enough to cover the 2 points without it), but the question is "when is the best time for me, strategically, to prevent them from building an unstoppable force.

The one downside to this variant is that it would almost force you to play with the Age of Empire variant, since otherwise you'd only ever have a maxium of 6 objectives on the board - which would essentially mean you could only win by getting all 6 objectives (since they'd all be Stage I), your Secret Objective, and playing Imperial. Granted, that idea could be rather interesting too!

Just my take
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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wow
Just...wow.
Such a simple change, but it seems like it would fix what bugs people most about ISC. It sounds good to me. I only play with age of empire variant, anyways, so I will probably use this idea. Thanks!thumbsup
 
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Patrick S.
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I tend to play 4 player; where every player selects two SCs. Do you have a suggestion on how to work around that and not using the ISC.
 
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N Burghardt
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We play without the ISC and often have 4 player games. With the bonus tokens it works fine since unpicked SC get sweeter each round. Obviously, there are less political cards and trade than 5 or 6 player games, but it still works fine.
 
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Blue Jackal
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Do you just flip a Public Objective over at the end of every turn, or at the beginning or something?
 
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Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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BlueJackal wrote:
Do you just flip a Public Objective over at the end of every turn, or at the beginning or something?


Use the Age of Empire variant. All public objectives start revealed.
 
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