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Terra Mystica» Forums » Variants

Subject: Idea for a new faction - Efreets rss

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Alban Thomas
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=== Efreets ===

Note : This faction is part of the Power is Coming Faction Set.

Character Description
While ordinary forces have no power over Efreets, they are higly susceptible to water. Added to the fact that no captain would brave such a fire risk, you will never see an Efreet on a ship. That's why they rely on stone bridges to spread lava flows across rivers.

EDIT: Version 2.2
(previous versions are archived below)



Faction Abilities
- Efreets are a Volcano faction, respecting Fire & Ice rules (setup + they cannot use spades)
- They must use workers to transform terrain : they pay 3W to transform the home terrain of another player into a Volcan. Every other terrain type cost 2W.
- Exception : any hex located at the extremity of one of their own bridges is turned into volcano for free. They don't pay any worker in this case.
- Each time they gain a spade via an Action or Cult bonus, they get 2 Workers instead. (if a Scoring tile awards VP for using Spades, they get those VP)
- They have no shipping, and no possibility to use it (+1 shipping with BON4 has no effect on them)
- Instead, they have a special action (once per round) : Take one power token from any of your bowls and put it on an empty river hex that is directly or indirectly adjacent to one of your structures. River hexes with power token on them count for indirect adjacency.

Stronghold
Cost 4W 8C, and has +2PW income
Special Action (once per round) : move one of your existing bridges to another valid location. You cannot move a bridge that is part of a town.

Other details
SA cost : 4W 6C
Start with 2 FIRE
Start with 4W
Reduced worker income : no base worker (but Dwelling #4 gives a Worker unlike other Volcano factions)
All the rest is standard, including starting power (5/7/0)

Expectations
Giving that ACT1 is the least used power action in most games, I wanted another faction with higher-than-usual interest on bridges. The idea here is no shipping, but a possibility to generate surgical indirect adjacency on choosen hexes, with the limit of 1 token per turn.
SH allowing to move a bridge should not be mandatory, though benefits of repeted free volcanos with a single bridge could be substantial if used properly.

The regular price for getting a volcano maybe seems low on first approach, but the natural shortage of workers among Volcano factions makes it not that cheap.
The compensation for spades could be too strong, but I wanted ACT5 and ACT6 still have good use for them.

____________________________________


As usual, feedback is welcome.
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Matthias Reitberger
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Network is an issue, especially when playing with additional scoring.
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Alban Thomas
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Thanks for pointing this.
Indeed, they wont have much chance to win highest count of connected settlements devil
Edge shouldn't be a problem.

For other scorings, maybe they are kinda disadvantaged, but who knows. Their aggressive style allows them to cut opponent's empire in two pieces when possible, thus getting decent scoring positions.

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Robert
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Grovast wrote:
Thanks for pointing this.
Indeed, they wont have much chance to win highest count of connected settlements devil
Edge shouldn't be a problem.

For other scorings, maybe they are kinda disadvantaged, but who knows. Their aggressive style allows them to cut opponent's empire in two pieces when possible, thus getting decent scoring positions.
I don't think any of the final scorings works for the Efreets:
* distance: no chance
* SA/SH distance: anything beyond 3 or 4 would be very hard to achieve
* clusters: ouch
* edge: as long as it's on one continent, it may work, but since all edge hexes need to be connected, the common "3 on this edge, 4 on that, connected by shipping/tunnel/carpet flight" won't work

On a more general note, I feel that Efreets should have a way of building a bridge which is independent from ACT1. It may be an expensive one, but if your only way to get anywhere is via bridge, then losing ACT1 in a round can be really critical - more so than for others. Engineers and Riverwalkers both have a higher-than-normal dependency on bridges, and both got means to get them. So should the Efreets.

Regarding town foundation and the inability of Efreets to move a bridge which is in a town: If the Efreets found a town, then build a bridge somewhere and start to build there, can they move the bridge somewhere (and thus try to form a 2nd town), or does the bridge -even though not required for the 1st town- now "belong" to the 1st town and thus becomes fixed?
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Jack Spirio
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There Need to be a possibility to create more then 2 cities
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Matthias Reitberger
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A third town is possible, you can use a bridge and move it away before creating a town and then build it on both sides of the river.
Rather complicated, especially if you want connectivity at the end of the game.

I think a faction without indirect connection can't work.
What about counting all buildings that could be reached with a bridge as connected for end game scoring?
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Erik Burigo
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How about this? It's a total rework, and I am total n00b with TM, but in theory it should catch the OP's concept.

* Whenever you build a bridge, take 3 power tokens from the reserve and put them into bowl I bowl III.

* Stronghold unlocks this special action (repeatable).
Bridges of Solid Flame: take 2 power tokens from any bowl and put them on an empty river space that is directly or indirectly adjacent to one of your buildings. River hexes with power tokens on them count for indirect adjacency.

The rest of the abilities (no ship track and workers<->spade exchange) remain.

This way building a bridge helps you conserve power but it's not strictly required. You also could make a chain of solid flames over a river to reach further hexes and help yourself into building a network.

Edit: I meant bowl I but my mind slipped.
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Alban Thomas
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Thanks for your input, its nice having you guys trying to help on this !

DocCool wrote:
If the Efreets found a town, then build a bridge somewhere and start to build there, can they move the bridge somewhere (and thus try to form a 2nd town), or does the bridge -even though not required for the 1st town- now "belong" to the 1st town and thus becomes fixed?
Well, my initial idea was to allow a bridge move if at least one the two resulting settlements is still a town.
But this was complicating ruling, cause you have to cover 3 cases :
1) none of the resulting settlements meets town requirement : the bridge cannot be moved
2) each of the resulting settlements meets town requirement : you found a second town (!)
3) only one of the two resulting settlements meets town requirement : just move the existing town tile on this settlement if needed.
That's why I simplified the design, but obviously there is a lack of flexibility now.

1869 wrote:
What about counting all buildings that could be reached with a bridge as connected for end game scoring?
It's a possibility, it's simple and it could work.

But there must be a more satisfying way to handle this, which would ideally fix all issues in the same time : final network, flexibility to create towns, and dependency to ACT1.
That must be, has suggested, an ability to generate somehow indirect adjacency.

PainKeeper wrote:
* Whenever you build a bridge, take 3 power tokens from the reserve and put them into bowl III.
* Stronghold unlocks this special action (repeatable).
Bridges of Solid Flame: take 2 power tokens from any bowl and put them on an empty river space that is directly or indirectly adjacent to one of your buildings. River hexes with power tokens on them count for indirect adjacency.
While the first part of your suggestion seems superfluous to me, the second part is kinda inventive, I like it.
Why not just a special action as faction ability (repeatable or maybe only once per round) : Take 1 power token from any bowl and put it on an empty river space that is directly or indirectly adjacent to one of your structures. River hexes with power token on them count for indirect adjacency.

It seems all those ideas lead to two different options

Option A wrote:
+ Advanced ruling to allow bridge move when town is preserved (see above)
+ All structures that could be reached with a bridge are considered as connected for end game scoring
+ Maybe allow unlimited access to ACT1
or
Option B wrote:
+ Additional special action to generate adjacency against power tokens
In both cases I think SH with bridge move action could stay, but option B makes it less essential. Its maybe a good thing for variable strategies if SH is less mandatory.

Thoughts ?
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Per Olander
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you could also allow them to move bridges freely after the 6th round has ended, before area and extra scoring is applied - then it doesnt matter whether you "split" existing towns, or fund new clusters of town size.

so this rearranging of bridges is only used to do final + F&I extra scoring, and you only have the bridges allready on the map, so you still need to build them during ordinary gameplay.
 
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Matthias Reitberger
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You would still have one cluster,no indirect connection possible
 
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Alban Thomas
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Version 2.0 changes (original post updated) :

E additional special action to generate indirect adjacency on river hexes against power tokens
(based on Painkiller's idea thumbsup)

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Robert
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So they now can build a long chain of power tokens along a river to create a long-distance indirect adjaceny?
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Alban Thomas
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As written yes.

On a thematic point of view, its fragile, I mean tokens are supposed to represent a bridge of flames, which is not likely to be so long.

On a gameplay point of view, ruling could limit the scope to a distance of 1, but without playtesting I'm unsure of what is for the best.
This is a big change on my initial idea anyway.
 
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Matthias Reitberger
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If you can use the special action multiple times they will easily connect everything last round -> not beatable in distance scoring. Once per round would be reasonable.

Thought about some starting options:
BON1 and BON6 each would bring them to 7 workers first round.
Best way to expand is building a bridge (3pw).
Building SH + D is no option, lacking worker to use the bridge move, only 2w income second round.
Building TE + D leaves 2w to transform a hex and 3w income with FAV7.
Option for building 2D second round, but 4th dwelling gives no income.
Save 2w build another TE + D possible but not sure, need money + building space (2w or bridge) for PA and BON. Further expansion still slow, even with FAV7 and FAV8. Maybe some cult bonus can keep them alive but they have no good scoring options during the game.
Dwelling rush stops at 3D giving the 4w income -> TE second round
Building a SH seems not affordable and rather useless, bridge movement still costs one worker, once per bad compared with Dwarves SH.
They can't compete with other factions with low worker income, engineers compensate with lower building costs and Dragonlords can easily build 5D first round.
All in all they look very weak.
 
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Alban Thomas
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1869 wrote:
If you can use the special action multiple times they will easily connect everything last round -> not beatable in distance scoring. Once per round would be reasonable.
My heart is balancing between both options, because they might want 2 connections in the same round during game.
But of course last round is an issue with the current rule, so Once-per-round might be preferable.

1869 wrote:
Thought about some starting options:
BON1 and BON6 each would bring them to 7 workers first round.
Best way to expand is building a bridge (3pw).
Building SH + D is no option, lacking worker to use the bridge move, only 2w income second round.
Building TE + D leaves 2w to transform a hex and 3w income with FAV7.
Option for building 2D second round, but 4th dwelling gives no income.
Save 2w build another TE + D possible but not sure, need money + building space (2w or bridge) for PA and BON. Further expansion still slow, even with FAV7 and FAV8. Maybe some cult bonus can keep them alive but they have no good scoring options during the game.
Dwelling rush stops at 3D giving the 4w income -> TE second round
Building a SH seems not affordable and rather useless, bridge movement still costs one worker, once per bad compared with Dwarves SH.
They can't compete with other factions with low worker income, engineers compensate with lower building costs and Dragonlords can easily build 5D first round.
All in all they look very weak.
Thanks for your analysis.

Everything seems right, except I don't really understand your comparison with Dwarves SH. Cheaper tunneling is saving 1W each time, while moving a bridge offers modified adjacency and a free volcano at the same time, whatever color of the hex (including opponents color). This is really different, I mean tunneling has no digging inside.

I already experienced first half of a game with SH action being a free movement. My conclusion was : it's really too strong.
I started on green hexes, choose C3, and had 9 structures at the end of round 3 :
E 2 from setup
E 3 paid with 2W (like you noticed, BON1 or BON6 actually gives a volcano)
E 4 of them for free : 2 bridges and 2 bridge movement (SH round 2)
Of course I had no FAV11 and I cant know for sure what score this would have lead to, but considering some of those hexes were their homeland, my opponents were in trouble and declared it overpowered.

I'm also quite convinced that worker count against volcanos should not be cheaper.

If SH is not attractive enough, maybe it should give +4PW and/or cost 3W ?
Another possible tuning is to give an additional 4th worker at start.
 
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Matthias Reitberger
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Grovast wrote:

Everything seems right, except I don't really understand your comparison with Dwarves SH. Cheaper tunneling is saving 1W each time, while moving a bridge offers modified adjacency and a free volcano at the same time, whatever color of the hex (including opponents color). This is really different, I mean tunneling has no digging inside.
Modified adjacency may be good or bad, with the power token ability and fixing the bridge when using it with a town it hardly is an advantage. To me it's just getting a 1w discount to a basic faction ability, terraforming for Efreets, tunneling for Dwarves. But Dwarves can do it several times in a round and get 4VP for it.


Grovast wrote:

I already experienced first half of a game with SH action being a free movement. My conclusion was : it's really too strong.
I started on green hexes, choose C3, and had 9 structures at the end of round 3 :
E 2 from setup
E 3 paid with 2W (like you noticed, BON1 or BON6 actually gives a volcano)
E 4 of them for free : 2 bridges and 2 bridge movement (SH round 2)
Bridges aren't for free, they cost you 6PW which will normally prevent taking any other PA.
So you start with 7w, build a bridge, dig for 2w, build 2D and and upgrade one D to TP. If you are lucky to get the other 2w BON you start second round with 6w. Building SH and 2w if you got enough leech build another bridge and move one building another 2D.
What about the money, you spent 17c and had 4c income, leaves you with 2c.
Your income third round is 4w + 2PW + BON.
Getting BON1 first and third round and BON6 second round is the only way I see you getting near building the missing 2 structures. Still lacking 2c and 1w, Cult Bonus fire could bring the worker and 5VP second round and the 2c might be laying on the BONs. With D scoring first and third round and BON6 second round you earned 19 VP, not bad.
But these are ideal conditions, you will not always get the BONs you need and the perfect setup is also rare.
Your 9 structures are SH + 8D, you haven't had a single cult advance and will likely loose out on further cult bonus and cult scoring.
Your money is all spend and you only get 6w + 2pw the income of your opponents will probably be better. Of course you are now able to upgrade slowly and aggressively terraform, but VP will only come from
Towns, BON6 or BON9 which will be very contested last 3 rounds. Connection and additional scoring might help you if you managed to destroy opponents connections.
I think the worker cost for moving bridges will totally destroy there game. In your game it would cost you 5w directly and maybe the same amount of lost income. If opponents are in trouble because of moving bridges they didn't adapt to the new ability and loosing homeland is quite normal if you have a faction with neighboring color in play, so don't blame it on Efreets or Riverwlkers.
 
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Alban Thomas
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1869 wrote:
Modified adjacency may be good or bad, with the power token ability and fixing the bridge when using it with a town it hardly is an advantage. To me it's just getting a 1w discount to a basic faction ability, terraforming for Efreets, tunneling for Dwarves. But Dwarves can do it several times in a round and get 4VP for it.
Alright, I get your point now. In Efreet's case, discount is either 1W or 2W, and obviously you will choose the more expensive targets when possible.
There was no such power token ability thing in the original design, so I'm perfectly willing to admit that bridge move is less necessary in current new version.

1869 wrote:

Bridges aren't for free, they cost you 6PW which will normally prevent taking any other PA.
So you start with 7w, build a bridge, dig for 2w, build 2D and and upgrade one D to TP.(...)But these are ideal conditions, you will not always get the BONs you need and the perfect setup is also rare.
I forgot to mention that they had cheaper ACT1 (2PW instead of 3PW) in this beta version I'm refering to (didnt kept that). With good leech, I was able to get both ACT1 and ACT2 on round 1. Priest goes for 3Fire, which granted me 2W with round 1 cult bonus (2Fire >> 1W). By sending a P to cults on round 1, you generally have more actions than opponents do, so you are able to get BON6 after opponent passes. I think my BONs were BON1, BON6 and then BON7 with 2 additionnal coins.
Then another time ACT1 on round 2, and if I remember correctly, I also had to convert some 1PW>1C.

I totally agree that a super-fast 8D doesnt give you the game so easily. In my case I just managed to cripple two of my opponents, but had no real VP engine, low on coins and would have finished 2nd at the best.
The real shock was the agressive expansion that they didnt see coming and partly ruined their plans, not Efreet VPs which were low at this stage.

Nothing is to be denied in your constructive argumentation, I just dont wish SH to be too strong here. I dont want it to be the best choice on all setups. I think there is enough factions completely depending on their SH.

I'm trying to figure another payment somewhere between 0 and 1W but I dont know if this makes sense (1C or 1PW is not really thematic).

I will playtest both options :
- cost 4W8C and bridge move for free
- cost 3W6C and bridge move 1W

 
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Silly Words
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I liked the general idea of having a reason to build more bridges, but I don't the faction is really viable. There is a reason that nobody digs with 3w, simply because it is very inefficient. Combine this disadvantage with no worker income for base dwelling and no worker income for fourth, then this faction is absolutely crippled from the start.

I'd say you have to get that sorted out before worrying about the bridges.



 
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Alban Thomas
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SillyWords wrote:
I liked the general idea of having a reason to build more bridges, but I don't the faction is really viable. There is a reason that nobody digs with 3w, simply because it is very inefficient. Combine this disadvantage with no worker income for base dwelling and no worker income for fourth, then this faction is absolutely crippled from the start.
I'd say you have to get that sorted out before worrying about the bridges.
You are comparing one dig with one volcano, this is not really the same thing. Volcano is spawning on every terrain, while with normal dig you might need 2+ spades (usually several times in a game). On the other hand, you have no native hexes on the map.

You speak about 3W, which is for native homeland of other players and includes a cost for disrupting them. 2W for others colors doesn't seem so far from a fair price to me.

I admit that all in all they would be weak, but that's where the bridge advantage comes.
Don't you think a free volcano for each bridge (without mentioning the possibility to move it afterwards) is big enough of a deal to re-balance them ?



 
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Matthias Reitberger
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Grovast wrote:
Don't you think a free volcano for each bridge (without mentioning the possibility to move it afterwards) is big enough of a deal to re-balance them ?
You should consider that a priest has the same cost as a bridge, it's like a dig for Darklings. So let's just compare that:

Volcano from Bridge laying is safe from terraforming by opponents, but Darklings can just dig and build in one move, no real advantage.

You can Bridge to every color, Darklings might need 2 or 3 digs sometimes. More than compensated by reaching another home terrain for building without a dig.

The bridge can be useful but it also limits the spaces that are viable for that kind of terraforming.

Moving the bridge is comparable with converting 3w to 3p, no big advantage.

Darkling can gain priests not only by power action, but by income, bonus or cult bonus and aren't limited to get only one per round, 3 times a game. And don't forget the 2VP for a priest dig.


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Alban Thomas
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All of this makes sense.
But I assume a lot of existing factions would also suffer from that kind of comparison with Darklings.

My current playtests are with SH cost 4W8C + bridge move for free.

Like we discussed earlier, I did two other games with bridge move for 1W, but it didn't turned so well for Efreets. They had few leech in those games : I gave priority to good bridges spots on setup, therefore had few neighbors and difficulties to repeat a good start beyond burning for ACT1 on round 1.




 
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Matthias Reitberger
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Grovast wrote:
All of this makes sense.
But I assume a lot of existing factions would also suffer from that kind of comparison with Darklings.
I don't think that way. Try playing the Darklings as a yellow faction on the original board. They are not OP by their digging/VP ability but by board design.
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Silly Words
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Hi Alban,

You might be right, I have to re-think it. Essentially, the 2W per spade earned means they get a "normal" dig in an unoccupied object. The 3W cost for owned colours is effectively a cost of 1.5 spades. So the net total of spades needed to transform hexes is probably quite low.

In a normal game, for a network of 13 I need 2 double digs and 5 single digs and I use 6 native hexes. So I need 9 digs in total (2*2+5*1).

A efleet would need 2 expensive digs and 9 single digs to reach this. So they need 2*1,5 + 9 singles. = 12 digs. If they use the bridge move three times and get 3 free, then they are at 9 (12-3) digs to reach a size of 13 too. However a bridge move costs 1w = half a dig. So add 3*0,5 to the cost and so a 13 network costs 10,5 digs. So it is slightly more expensive than a normal player.

However, that means, that you have to compare the rest of the faction with other factions.
- less worker income cripples the dig ability, which is slightly worse that a normal player anyhow. If you want to build a network to 13 you are going to be hurting for workers.
- no factionaly points generation like darklings, witches, halflings etc.
- no free resources like swarmlings, witches.
- no good power with the SH like the giants
- no ability to earn points with shipping.
- no way to earn victory points with 3vp per shipping bonus.
- no way to increase digging and get points.

So overall, I'm still saying, this is a weak faction. Costs more to dig and you have no other factional advantages. The major advantages is the ability to build anywhere at a reasonable cost. The only other slight advantage I see is the connect via sacrificed tokens. However this is also a double edged sword because it reduces your ability to burn.

Too make it interesting/viable however, it only takes a small change in my eyes. Every burnt power token can be used to connect things up on river tiles. Kind of little lava outposts. That way you would address the connectivity issues described above. And the SH should generate 4pw. With these two changes, I think the faction is weak, but viable.

Oh. Grabbing Fav7 is a must for this faction.

cheers

SW




 
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Alban Thomas
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Coming back with some more playtests and a new version that implements some of your proposals (v2.2 - original post updated)

- Dwelling #4 now gives a Worker income
- SH cost 4W8C, bridge move for free (removed 1W cost)
- SA cost 4W6C (down from 8C)
- Start with 4W (up from 3W)
- Indirect adjacency using power tokens is now a once-a-round special action

According to my tests, with those changes they have been able to do well and compete for biggest network in various setups.
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Tim Bryce
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This looks excellent. I love the unusual adjacency approach, and the bridge focus. Looks pretty balanced now at first glance.
 
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