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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shattered Empire» Forums » Variants

Subject: Trade remade rss

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Alwin Derijck
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Here is another part of BORG's house rule novel.
This time trade regains some of its old characteristics.

The original post can be found here:
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?num=...

I am curious what everybody thinks of BORG's suggestions.
gr A

Quote:
Trade.

There's 1 big problem with the Trade Mechanic in TI3 : as the game goes on, Trade Contracts lose "value" after each round.

In the early game, when you hardly have anything more than your Home System to work with, those 2 or 3 Trade Goods you get with the Trade SC are a significant boost to your Resource/Influence potential.

As you expand and get more Planets under your Control, those 2 or 3 Trade Goods become an ever decreasing percentage of your total amount of resources ... until the point where you don't really care about them anymore.

Clearly, the values of those Trade Contracts are designed to be balanced at the Start of the Game.
Thus : they are no longer "balanced" after the start of the game.

To remain an important part of the game, Trade Contracts should be able to "improve" as the game goes on, so that Trade Contracts "keep pace" with your growing Planet resources and roughly represent the same percentage of your resources.

So, how can we make a minimal adjustment, easy to implement, for maximum results ?

(Assuming a 6-player game and the Trade II SC)

When the Active Player plays the Trade II Strategy Card, proceed like this :

1- Active Player decides whether he wants to receive 3 Trade Goods or Cancel up to 2 Trade Agreements (No Canceling Hacan TA's)

2- All Players receive Trade Goods (Non Active Players receive : Total -1)

3- Each player may take 1 of his unused Control Markers and give that Control Marker to 1 of his Trading Partners.

The Trading Partner can refuse or accept the Control Marker.
If he Accepts, he puts the Control Marker on the Trade Contract he has with that player. This contract is now worth +1 Trade Good.
(so each Control Marker on a Trade Contract increases the value of that Trade Contract with +1)
Important : even though you may have two Trade Agreements, you're allowed to give only one "+1 bonus" to a Trading Partner.

4- Players may now "Break Contracts" with Trading Partners if they wish to do so.

Note : Trade Agreements in which at least one of the contracts received a +1 Bonus during step 3 of the resolution of this round's Trade SC cannot be broken during step 4 of the resolution of the Trade SC.

In other words : only Trade Agreements where both players did not receive a +1 bonus from each other during step 3 may be broken during step 4.

Note : If your intention is to break a Trade Agreement, don't accept any +1 offers made to you from the player you want to break with.

5- Open Trade Negotiations among all players. The Active Player must approve all new Trade Agreements.

This mechanic, to give each player the ability to increase the value of one of his Trade Contracts by +1, (every time the Trade SC gets played), is simple to implement and makes trade come alive.

- It allows for Trade Contracts to keep pace with the ever growing amount of Resources from Planets players have at their disposal, thus the Trade Contracts have the potential to be "rebalanced" every round.

- Players can develop a true "Trade Strategy", where partners can (potentially) pick the Trade II SC every other turn and thus prevent other players from destroying their lucrative agreement.

- the potential to significantly improve Trade Agreements, gives power to the ability to "break up to 2 Trade Agreements" as well.
Currently this ability is hardly ever used as it's usually more profitable to go for the 3 Trade Goods early on and later when players have planets in abundance it doesn't matter much anymore.

- Being able to generate lucrative Contracts gives even players with few or no Planets outside their Home System a means to remain Competitive : thus "Trade" , can be a real Strategy.

- Deciding who you are going to give your +1 Bonus every time the Trade SC comes around is an exciting part of the game.
Sometimes your partners are both going to want it : who do you give it to ? Do you give a +1 bonus at all ?
You'll have to come up with some good solutions or Broken Contracts will soon follow.
Overall leading to a more "fulfilling" Trade Segment in the game.


Quote:
Trade Continued.

Finally: in case things are not completely clear, an example from my last game.
Round two, Trade SC has been played by Jol-Nar :

1- Jol-Nar takes 3 TG's

2- Jol-Nar cashes in on his Trade Agreements, then the others get their share (-1)

3- Awarding (or not) a +1 bonus to a Trading Partner.

Jol-Nar is trading with Yin Brotherhood (across galaxy) and Letnev (left hand side)

Yin has Jol-Nar's 3-contract and wants to give Jol-Nar its +1 bonus if Jol-Nar gives their +1 bonus to them in return (you scratch my back, I scratch yours)

Letnev on Jol-Nar's left hand side has the 1-contract from Jol-nar and "demands" to get the +1 bonus or ....

Jol-Nar promises Yin they'll be offered a +1 counter next time if they give their +1 counter to Jol-Nar this time.

Since the Yin already have got a 3-contract from Jol-Nar, they grudgingly accept and give their +1 counter to Jol-Nar.

Then, Jol-Nar keeps Letnev happy by giving them +1 to their Trade Contract.

Xxcha wants the +1 bonus from Saar but doesn't get it.

Step 4 : break contracts :
Letnev/Jol-Nar cannot break Contracts since there was at least one improvement among them.(Jol-Nar giving to Letnev)*
Jol-Nar/Yin cannot break contracts for the same reason.(Yin giving to Jol-Nar)*
Meaning Jol-Nar couldn't break any of his contracts even if he now wanted to.*
Xxcha breaks contract with Saar and makes new deal with Sol, which gets approved by Jol-Nar.

* The "logical & intuitive" rule I'm applying here is that players cannot break a Trade Agreement, right after one (or both of them) have agreed to improve one (or both) of their contracts. These races have just decided to work closer together, they can't just do the opposite immediately after they have greed to work closer together. It is some kind of "commitment" that you make, some guarantee to be trading for at least another round (unless war erupts of course)
If your intention is to break a contract : then simply don't offer or accept any improvement during step 3 to the Trading Partner you want to break up with.
Quite simple really

***

As side notes :

Contracts are still broken immediately if war breaks out between two Trading Partners.

There should be two moments at most where you can break a Trade Agreement in a "peaceful way"
1- During Step 4 of the resolution of the Trade Strategy right before Step 5 where players can forge new Trade Agreements.
2- During the Status Phase

I also see these Tade Agreement Improvements as a lifeline for races who get beat in the planet race.
Even with only a few planets at your disposel but with a couple of impressive Trade Contracts one might still stay afloat.
Think what the possibilities would be with two 5-contracts and a Home System

And of course, when someone decides to break an improved contract, all the counters are gone and the Contract returns to its owner at the original value (restart) - another balance to this mechanism.

Improved Trade Agreements will also make the "break 2 Trade Agreements" option of the Trade II SC much more attractive, as some players may decide they may benefit more from denying an opponent 6 TG's (for example) rather than getting 3 TG's themselves.
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Alwin Derijck
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I am interested in trying this system.
However, I think there should be a limitation on the amount of +1 tokens that is allowed.

Ladies and gentlemen..... your thoughts please.

gr Alwin
 
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Christopher Halbower
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This idea would make Trade more important. I'm not sure that Trade NEEDS to be more important.

I would recommend using the new Trade SC (Trade II). If that doesn't suit your taste, try this simple variant: the player with Trade primary gets to approve trade agreements. Every turn that Trade gets taken, that particular player gets to approve all the trade agreements.

This would make people much more likely to take Trade and it doesn't require extra bookkeeping. There's too much bookkeeping in the game as is.
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Alwin Derijck
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Last game we played with Trade II.
That is a big improvement over the original trade SC. It adds a little bit more trade goods to the game and one could specifically target 2 trade agreements in stead of blowing up all trade.
We are always playing Trade II from now on.

The game I'm referring to was a 5 player game with all the "number II" SC's and the old set. Trade just was not picked very often since people tend to find it not very lucrative.
Especially if you are one of those people that get stuck with one of those lousy 1 cards. Races with two 1 cards sort of get ignored anyway.
The problem is that, when you have a reasonable amount of planets, you don't really need Trade goods. Only when there is a Public Objective which needs Trade goods they are essential for that extra victory point. When you are somewhat less blessed with your starting empire, Trade goods can not make up for the difference.

In our games hardly any trade goods enter the game, except for some via action cards and an occasional Trade SC.
For example, playing Mentak Coalition, I have not once been able to use the Trade goods stealing ability due to the "higher then 3" restriction. As I said, there is not a lot of dough going around.

In our group Trade is often seen as one of those "left over" choices during the Strategy phase. So I do feel that Trade needs a little boost.

Christopher, regarding your simple variant, I'm not quite sure I understand you. The player with the Trade SC already gets to approve all trade agreements according to the standard rules, right? So how is your variant, a variant?
 
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Christopher Halbower
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Here's how it works:

Sol takes Trade SC on the first turn. He collects 3TG's. Then he approves trade agreements.

On round 2, Mentak takes Trade SC. He collects 3TG's + the TG's from his agreements. Then all the other players collect TG's per the secondary. Then the Mentak gets to approve trade agreements. Trade agreements do not last indefinitely. They must be approved each and every time that someone takes Trade SC. If Mentak declines your trade agreements, then you lose them.

This simple addition makes Trade viable all the time. Normally, the first player to select Trade SC gets to dictate these terms at the begining of the game. Now, whoever takes Trade on any given round gets to dictate these turns.
 
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Alvaro Sarria
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I agree with Alwin: I think the idea is good, but it should be limited, something like +3 max or something like that.
That should balance it out, as, of example, a 3 TG card would be worth 6 TG (!!) which I think is more than enough to be juicy ^ ^

 
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Alwin Derijck
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He Alvaro,

If you are willing to try this variant I'm very much interested to know how it went. Other then Trade SC II, we haven't changed anything to the Trade system yet.

gr Alwin
 
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Udu Tont
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Christopher, I do not think it is a good idea. Presumably the agreement is canceled if the player who took trade does not (re)-approve it. This would make the alternative option - cancel two trade agreements - almost defunct (as you can cancel any number you want after taking 3 TG) It also is too powerful. For instance, most players would give up 1 TG to ensure re-approving rather than to loose 2 TGs next trade phase. And you can bully all players - so when there are many 3 TG agreements around you can get many-many TGs.

BORG's variant is interesting but Jason seems to have very good contra arguments.
 
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Lyn Fox
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Borg's idea sounds interesting, but I agree that it should be limited. A limit that sounds like it might work well for me is twice the base value of the trade agreement. So a 3 could be increased up to 6, but a 1 can only be improved once. That may help to keep the flavor of the races in tact with respect to trade.

I might try this next time I play. Trade does seem a bit weak as it currently is, though the Trade II is a vast improvement over Trade I.
 
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Nick Short
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Alwin wrote:
In our games hardly any trade goods enter the game, except for some via action cards and an occasional Trade SC.
For example, playing Mentak Coalition, I have not once been able to use the Trade goods stealing ability due to the "higher then 3" restriction. As I said, there is not a lot of dough going around.
I used to be annoyed about not getting to steal when playing as Mentak, but then I realized that I was looking at the ability completely wrong. All of my opponents were forced to spend all of their teade goods, instead of stockpiling until they really needed them, while me and those I'd struck deals with could save up and have some huge spending turns. Viewed that way, it's a fairly strong ability after all.
 
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Alwin Derijck
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That's a good point.
Thanks for pointing it out.

greetz
alwin
 
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