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Historia» Forums » Variants

Subject: war variant rss

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Jeff Collins
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I have thoughts about a war variant that i have not tested but would appreciate thoughts from those more familiar with the game

The player who activates a war must use a power cube to do so once they reach military level 6. They must then use two power cubes to do so once they reach military level 12. Thus as their military might grows it requires more resources to "fuel their war machine".

I initially thought 1/2/3 power cubes for level 1/6/12 but that may be too expensive.

My other thought was the defender could "defend" against a war on them by paying power cubes (the number based on either scale above) to not lose their cube in the territory, once they reach science level 10 (gunpowder).

I also liked the idea someone had where the person who activates a war loses a military level.

I like the game but felt that once the military players separated from the nonmilitary players the game seemed to lose some of the tension present from the ealy game when players were closer together in military and jockeying for position, while still moving forward on the science track.

Any thoughts are appreciated.

Edit: added comment to defending player being on level 10.
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Joe Pilkus
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Jeff,

As someone who loves Historia (over 50 games played!) and serves as a developer on a number of games, I would strongly recommend that you play-test the variant a number of times and post your findings. In some ways, game development is akin to science, in that you start with a hypothesis...similar to your idea for the Variant, and play-testing serves as your testing and evaluation.

As an example, we found that once someone attains a high level in Military, it is best for everyone else to remain in only one territory (final cube can't be removed) and pursue Technology. Unfortunately, that's not particularly satisfying, especially, since the Military track grants the ability to return both cards and cubes to you. To that end, I play-tested 12 games the following Variant: A player may only wage War against another player over whom they possess a greater level in BOTH Military and Technology. It kept more of the CivBots around and allowed each player to pursue their own strategy with respect to the entire matrix.

Please play-test your Variant and post your findings. I would be interested to hear how it works.

Cheers,
Joe
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Jeff Collins
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My request for thoughts on the variant is an attempt to gather more information about it conceptually from those who have more familiarity with the relationship between military and science tracks. I would prefer to hear from others before attempting to test something that is ill-conceived.

As an additional challenge, i will have limited opportunities to test the variant with my play group, so i would like to have a better idea of feasibility of the variant before proposing it to the group.

So, given your familiarity with the game, does it appear that my variant has any promise, or is it not worth pursuing?



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Joe Pilkus
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Jeff,

I would caution against it, only because the cubes serve as the ONLY resource in the game, and as they're required for all manner of advancement, coupled with the ability to gain new territories, any use of them for something beyond their original intent may (and I would suggest, will) significantly disrupt the balance inherent in the game.

Cheers,
Joe
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Jeff Collins
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Thanks for your thoughts. I will keep playing and will likely try your variant as well.

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Ian St. John
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I doubt that spending power cubes is the way to go. As a military dominant player, you have an extra option of retrieving cubes via the Raid Action, so it might not serve as a deterrent.

As far as losing a level of Military goes, it's more punitive in theory. But note that the bonus for advancing a level in Tech or Military is given again each time you advance even if it is a level you had previously attained. So there might even be a possible exploit in it.

Depending on the course of the game, the Military and non-Military players may well be in for a race of points. A well-functioning war enginge can bring in a lot of points but so can the effective use of wonders and Utopian Government.

One of the prime differences of Historia to seemingly similar games is that the military player can't seriously harm the weaker players. The most he or she can do is deny territory points and that's really not the victory point source you should rely on as soon as you notice that you are not on top of the arms race.

To add interactivity to the game of war, I'll throw in another house rule idea:

The Raid and War Action can each be played defensively. If another player tries to raid you and you have your own raid action played this round, your military level is considered 1 (2 for advanced Raid) higher than it actually is. If you are early in the initiative order, you just declare that your Raid Action is a defensive one and use the effect against a later Raid that round.

If is is played defensively, the card has no other effect e.g. you can't also Raid a third player who's weaker than you.

Defensive War works exactly the same though you might want to tack an oppurtunity cost in like spending a single cube because an Offensive War is more difficult to set up and thus more predictable than a mere Raid.

This would also eliminate the problem of the military cards being useless to militarily mediocre civs. You would still have to train a competitive military so the one or two points can actually save you from onslaught, which perhaps gives a little more weight to middle-ground strategies. Utopias will still be free food for Militarists but then again they rack in the points and shouldn't complain...
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Joe Pilkus
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Jeff,

I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Ian,

It's an interesting House Rule, but using the cards in this manner seems more confusing to the players, but I might be wrong. I tend to design and develop rules which prove more streamlined.

Cheers,
Joe
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Jeff Collins
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Its interesting...and looks to address the issue of the military v science players, but agreed, it may be a bit complicated. Maybe i just need to play the game more, but in last game two players were at the top of military, one at the "top" in science, and me in the the middle on both (and i finished in last place). It gave the impression that you needed to do one or the other to win, with little or no way to impact the other (as is discussed in another thread). To me, the game was very interesting up until the two military players separated.

Personally, the game loses something, if it is a matter of going straight science or straight military, regardless of other players. I have read that the military track may have an advantage, but some comments suggest science can win as well, which is good.

So, what i think is, i would like to figure out how to tweak the game, because i enjoyed the card play, the tech matrix, the wonders, and advisors, and such, and actually playing the game for about 2/3 of it. I feel the issue is with the fact that once the separation occurs then players are stuck with a narrow direction to play (science/military) rather than attempting to out maneuver each other to win the game. Thus, my thought was, keep science track as is, while modifying the military to possibly make it more situational or tactical rather than automatic (which is what happened inthe game above).

Maybe an option includes your variant that the warring player has to have a higher science level than opponent to engage in war. What if the waring player had to pay power cubes to over come the lack of science? And conversely, the defending player could spend power cubes to overcome a lack of military power (hiring mercenaries) to defend an attack to keep cube in territory. Several players noted the lack of relevance of the world map to the game.

Now i am rambling, and possibly not making sense. I will try to play this weekend to get more familiar with the game.

I appreciate the comments.
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Joe Pilkus
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Jeff,

This is a game which I've played most often in either solitaire mode with five CivBots or against my girlfriend, where I generally pursue a Military strategy, where she pursues Technology, mixed with Wonders. In all, we've each split the number of "wins" over many games, so it's certainly possible to win with either strategy. However, to your broader point, it's usually not favorable to pursue a "middle of the road" strategy in this game, as you're left garnering 3-4 VPs every turn for your government vice 5-7 VPs for a Military or Technology focused one.

Given the scarcity of cubes, I'm inclined to disagree with the notion that they should be used for something outside of their original purpose, but you may have some ideas for better use/interpretation for several of the cards. As to the map...it's essential by my estimation and any game which is identified as a civilization game without it would prove peculiar to me.

Cheers,
Joe
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Jeff Collins
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Still pondering this... i dont know if the map is important at all for the science player who will typically only have one cube (that cant be eliminated) on the board.

I played a solo 4 player game with 2 "human" players and 2 chieftain level civbots. My intent was to play one military and one science. The varient included:

3 military levels and 3 science levels (1-6, 7-12, and 13-16).

To play a war card you still must have a higher military. If you have a higher science as well you pay nothing. If you are at the same level science pay 1 cube, behind 1 level pay 2 cubes, behind 2 levels pay 3, if opponent is on level 3 then you pay 3 regardless of your own science level.

The defending opponent can choose to "defend" the territory by paying cubes based on military level: 1 cube if on the same level, 2 cubes if behind one level, 3 cubes if behind 2 levels pay 3, and if opponent is on level 16 then you would need to pay 3 cubes regardless of your own military level. If you choose to defend, the military player receives the victory points but the cube is not removed from the territory.

Finally, during the end turn phase in which you score victory points for territory control. Players who are alone in a territory or if multiple players are in a territory, who ever has the highest science receive the victory points.

During my game tonight, the variant had little impact during the first age. But as the game progressed, the payment of cubes to both conduct a war and defend against it did impact the game. The wonders that allow you to return cubes were important. The most cubes i had to pay to conduct a war or defend was 2, which was doable. At one point, the defending science player paid the cost of 2 cubes to keep his cube in a territory since it was going to result in a 6 point net gain for the territory scoring at the end of the turn.

I did not apply the cube cost variant to the civbots but did include them in scoring the territory bonus, which did make it interesting.

I will try again if i get the chance this weekend. I am not sure about the cost of cubes to conduct war, but liked the idea of using science track for territory bonus and the ability to defend the territory. I felt it made the map more relevant.

 
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Darren Davis
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Has anyone considered increasing tension by incorporating a d6 roll for war?

Each player would simply roll a d6 and add their military level to the roll. Highest result wins the war.

What do you think the implications on balance would be? I've only played the game twice, but military does seem to be the stronger strategy, and winning a war should be by no means a sure thing.
 
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