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Terra Mystica» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variable Cults rss

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Gurps Melendor
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Motivation: Divine Favors are always the same and they central for many strategies. Remove some of them (specially earth1) and include others could be very intriguing. It would increase the game “replayability” and force the players to find new ways to development.

Components: 8 Cult tokens (4 original cults and 4 new: Life, Death, Mind and Body).
28 new Devine Favors; 7 for each of the new cults; 3/3/1 favors distribution, as the originals.

Setup: During the setup, before the races choice, randomly take four cult tokens. If you take some original cults but then over their cult tracks. After that, randomly determinate which original cult will be substituted for the new ones (you should use the cult tokens for that). Put the new cult token over the original cult track (consider that substitution on initial cult steps and cult rewards).
Take the divine favors from the chosen cults and remove the others. So, if air cult were removed from the game, the players cannot take any air favor.

Favors: Many good options for that, my favorites:

Life Favors:
1– 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
2– Action: use 3 PW to gain a shovel, once per turn. (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)

Death Favors:
1 - When passing, 2VP for every city you have.
2 - During the income you can trade 1 worker for 1 Priest, once per turn.

Mind Favors:
1 - When accepting leech, pay one VP less
2 - +1 Power Value of your Temples and Sanctuary

Body Favors:
1 – When passing, earn 2 VP if you have biggest connected network and 2 VP if you have biggest connected distance (in both cases, 1VP if you are tie in the 1st place).
2 - +1 on range of your ship, carpet and (maybe) tunnel (do not advance the marker in your border).

No effect for all 3 Favors.


EDITED
Components: 6 independent cult tracks (4 original and 2 new, Life and Death). There could be more and it would be better, but I didn’t have enough imagination. If you have suggestions, please share.

New favors for Life and Death Cults. As the original, there will be 7 favors for every cult.

Death Favors:
1 (x3) - When passing, 2VP for every city you have.
2 (x3) - During the income you can trade 1 worker for 1 Priest, once per turn.
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
2 (x3) – Action: use 3 PW to gain a shovel, once per turn. (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

Cult Tracks Setup: During the setup, before the races choice, randomly take four cult tracks. Remove the others, they will not be used during the game. Take the divine favors from the chosen cults and remove the others.
So, if air cult were removed from the game, the players cannot take any air favor.

Of course, it would be necessary some rules to adapt the initial cult steps and the cult rewards, but it wouldn’t be difficult.
What do you think?

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Jerry Martin
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What do you do for people's starting steps in cult power when they don't match?
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Gurps Melendor
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Syvanis wrote:
What do you do for people's starting steps in cult power when they don't match?

Maybe: if Fire is out of game and Death is in, Death will substitute Fire on initial steps and cult rewards. If two original cults are out, you have to raffle the association.
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Robert
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Syvanis wrote:
What do you do for people's starting steps in cult power when they don't match?
3 cases:
1) neither life nor death are in the game: start cults as usual
2) one-of life/death in the game (and therefore one of the current cults is not): factions which normally start with a step in the missing cult now start with as many steps in the life/death cult
3) both life and death cult are in the game (and therefore two of the current cults are not):
a) if fire is out, transfer fire start cult steps to death cult and the other missing normal cult steps to life
b) if fire is in and water is out, transfer water start cult steps to death cult and the other missing normal cult steps to life
c) if fire and water are in, transfer earth start cult steps to death cult and air start cult steps to life
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Grant
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I like the idea. Another way to approach it, which would be more in line with how factions work and would make starting cult steps less complicated, would be to have 8 total instead of 6. You have the four original, plus an alternate version of each (so life could be fire-2 and death could be earth-2 or something, plus two more as yet undefined). Then you just pick side 1 or side 2 of each cult board randomly.
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Maybe, you can put a life and death token on the top of cult tracks that are replaced so you can keep track of what end round bonus you get.
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Erik Burigo
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Skyswooper wrote:
Maybe, you can put a life and death token on the top of cult tracks that are replaced so you can keep track of what end round bonus you get.


Yeah. I like this suggestion more.
De facto, your variant simply replaces some Favor tile set with another.

To keep the races' flavor I'd convert the new cults (Life and Death) into modifications (deviations) to existing cults (Exalted and Corrupted).

Each deviation comes with:
- 6 Favor tiles (three level 1 and three level 2; you don't need to replace the level 3) that substitute the corresponding favors of the modified cult;
- 1 marker that is put at the head of the modified column on the cult board (just as a reminder and for flavor, but it could easily dismissed with a proper layout of the components).

In this way all game effects that refer to a base cult refer now to the deviant one. E.g.: Fire may become Exalted Fire or Corrupted Fire, but it's still considered Fire for all game purposes.

Note: The substitute favor tiles may be a clipped version of the original ones and be used as overlays on the original ones (in order to modify the effect but keep the original elemental symbols on the left).
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Andrew Keddie
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Skyswooper wrote:
Maybe, you can put a life and death token on the top of cult tracks that are replaced so you can keep track of what end round bonus you get.


I was thinking of something similar, but an overlay that would sit on top of the original cult board with new colours. The Life and Death tracks would just sit on top of the replaced cult(s).
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Robert
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CommissarFeesh wrote:
Skyswooper wrote:
Maybe, you can put a life and death token on the top of cult tracks that are replaced so you can keep track of what end round bonus you get.


I was thinking of something similar, but an overlay that would sit on top of the original cult board with new colours. The Life and Death tracks would just sit on top of the replaced cult(s).
That's the luxury variant. Cheapskates could use a black terrain tile for Death and a green (or yellow?) terrain tile for Life, which they put onto the 10-spot of the cult which these cults replace. Though even cheapskates would probably need a set of new favor tiles for Death and Life.
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Gurps Melendor
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More ideas for Favors

Space Favors (I really like it)
1 – When passing, earn 2 VP if you have biggest connected network and 2 VP if you have biggest connected distance (in both cases, 1VP if you are tie in the 1st place).
2 - +1 on range of your ship, carpet or tunnel (do not advance the marker in your border; BON 10 would give you points for that if you have a ship).

Time Favors (It’s an initial thought. I like the concept but needs to be balanced according to the number of players. Because of it, it could be a bad idea. Please give your opinion.)
1 – When passing, earn VP according to your new position and the number of players.
2 – When a player pass before you earn power according the number of players.
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Alban Thomas
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I really like the idea, and I agree with Painkeeper, each new set of favors should be a substitute for a given cult.
They would share the same color (just need a slightly modified symbol for the alternative set) so everything related to the basic cult will intuitively apply.

"Corrupted" cult is a good candidate. Corrupted cult symbols would have a small skull or something on them.

Anyway, I can handle the Photoshop work some day.

I will give my opinion on favor ideas later, decent balance is not an easy matter.
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melendor wrote:

Death Favors:
1 (x3) - When passing, 2VP for every city you have.
2 (x3) - During the income you can trade 1 worker for 1 Priest, once per turn.
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
2 (x3) – Action: use 3 PW to gain a shovel, once per turn. (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

[...]What do you think?


I suggest that the favor tiles should have abilities in the theme life/death.
For example an alternative can be:

Death Favors: (cult steps awarded are 0/1/4 instead of 1/2/3)
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
1 (x3) - Sacrificing a priest on a cult track awards 2VP.
4 (x1) - When passing, loose 1VP.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – When passing, receive 1VP for each pair of already built dwellings.
2 (x3) – Once a round as an action, you can resurrect a priest (put back a sacrificed priest from the cult track into your supply) and receive 2VP.
3 (x1) - No effect.
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Gurps Melendor
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Skyswooper wrote:
melendor wrote:

Death Favors:
1 (x3) - When passing, 2VP for every city you have.
2 (x3) - During the income you can trade 1 worker for 1 Priest, once per turn.
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
2 (x3) – Action: use 3 PW to gain a shovel, once per turn. (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

[...]What do you think?


I suggest that the favor tiles should have abilities in the theme life/death.
For example an alternative can be:

Death Favors: (cult steps awarded are 0/1/4 instead of 1/2/3)
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
1 (x3) - Sacrificing a priest on a cult track awards 2VP.
4 (x1) - When passing, loose 1VP.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – When passing, receive 1VP for each pair of already built dwellings.
2 (x3) – Once a round as an action, you can resurrect a priest (put back a sacrificed priest from the cult track into your supply) and receive 2VP.
3 (x1) - No effect.


I think we should keep Favor powers as the originals: 1 (x3), 2 (x3) and 3 (x1). Favor 1 should give VP and favor 2 could helps economy somehow. I know Fire cult doesn’t respect that, but the other tree cult do.
 
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melendor wrote:
Skyswooper wrote:
melendor wrote:

Death Favors:
1 (x3) - When passing, 2VP for every city you have.
2 (x3) - During the income you can trade 1 worker for 1 Priest, once per turn.
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
2 (x3) – Action: use 3 PW to gain a shovel, once per turn. (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)
3 (x1) - No effect, as always.

[...]What do you think?


I suggest that the favor tiles should have abilities in the theme life/death.
For example an alternative can be:

Death Favors: (cult steps awarded are 0/1/4 instead of 1/2/3)
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
1 (x3) - Sacrificing a priest on a cult track awards 2VP.
4 (x1) - When passing, loose 1VP.

Life Favors:
1 (x3) – When passing, receive 1VP for each pair of already built dwellings.
2 (x3) – Once a round as an action, you can resurrect a priest (put back a sacrificed priest from the cult track into your supply) and receive 2VP.
3 (x1) - No effect.


I think we should keep Favor powers as the originals: 1 (x3), 2 (x3) and 3 (x1). Favor 1 should give VP and favor 2 could helps economy somehow. I know Fire cult doesn’t respect that, but the other tree cult do.


Yes I tried to respect that.
For death, I put favor 1 to give VP and favor 2 to be in fact favor 0.
favor 3 being favor 4 at the cost of 1 VP per turn is to fulfil the theme a bit more.

Maybe the suggestion for favor 2 (which is a favor 0 in this case) is not that good. The idea was to help the economy and help better weaker factions (fakirs in particular). But an income of priest with 2 cult steps was a bit too strong. So I put it to 0, and balanced the lack of death cult steps with a favor 3, (4 here), which this time can arouse more envy than a regular favor 3.

I wanted death 1 to be a good alternative to earth 1 and water 1, and life 1 to consider not picking earth 1 early.

Death 1 would give an average of 8-12VP per game which is low, but it can be built later on and still reward the same amount of VP. Plus if the round scoring tile is near, death 1 can be a better pick than water 1 for example.
3VP might be a bit too powerful, but it can be tested.
 
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Alban Thomas
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Here comes my humble comments on your new favors ideas. Sorry for the length, tried to make it short

Melendor wrote:
1 (x3) - When passing, 2VP for every city you have.
This would be insentive for an early town, so I think the purpose is good. Alternatively, it still can be picked last round for a late favor if you plan to finish with 3 towns. 6VP is not so bad, better than FAV12.

Melendor wrote:
2 (x3) - During the income you can trade 1 worker for 1 Priest, once per turn.
I suggest it should be a special action, so it would be available the round you get the favor. It would be another way to get a Priest on round 1. On the other hand, it takes one turn to apply.

Melendor wrote:
1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
Max 15VP for a regular factions, seems fair enough to me, but it will never match with FAV11 (probably a good thing)

Melendor wrote:
2 (x3) – Action: use 3 PW to gain a shovel, once per turn. (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)
Not bad, with the downside that some factions (from Fire & Ice in particular) wont have any use for this.

Melendor wrote:
1 – When passing, earn 2 VP if you have biggest connected network and 2 VP if you have biggest connected distance (in both cases, 1VP if you are tie in the 1st place).
I like this one, max of 20VP if you manage to get biggest network AND distance all along the game.

Melendor wrote:
2 - +1 on range of your ship, carpet or tunnel (do not advance the marker in your border; BON 10 would give you points for that if you have a ship).
I think it would make Dwarves hard to stop. The only reason they dont do so well every time is the difficulties they can meet when trying to connect the two parts of their empire. With a tunnel distance of 2 hex, it would be too easy. Just my opinion.
Note : the bonus landscape current suggestion for Dwarves goes this way, but its is restricted to one start hex, its not the same

Melendor wrote:
1 – When passing, earn VP according to your new position and the number of players.
I think 1VP for each other remaining player would be OP in 5 player games. On the other hand, a specific VP scale for every configuration wouldnt be elegant, a generic rule is preferable. I assume passing last should give 0VP. Maybe passing first should give 3VP, but for the rest, hard to figure out something (2VP for every other rank seems unfair, and 1VP seems a bit low).

Melendor wrote:
2 – When a player pass before you earn power according the number of players.
Same balance issue here

Skyswooper wrote:
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
Unlike Melendor I'm not shocked by this trangression. Slightly better than FAV9, so the downside (no cult step) is necessary.
Skyswooper wrote:
1 (x3) - Sacrificing a priest on a cult track awards 2VP.
Max 14VP, sounds like decent, and as a VP favor I agree it should not give more than one cult step

Skyswooper wrote:
4 (x1) - When passing, loose 1VP.
I like this one, it can become very tempting from round 4/5

Skyswooper wrote:
1 (x3) – When passing, receive 1VP for each pair of already built dwellings.
Obviously good after a Dwelling rush, so I think it leads to new strategies for some factions.
Skyswooper wrote:
2 (x3) – Once a round as an action, you can resurrect a priest (put back a sacrificed priest from the cult track into your supply) and receive 2VP.
I dont feel like its a good idea, because of the 3-steps spots. If everyone has passed but yourself, and you have a Priest available, you can resurrect from a 3-steps spot and take it again immediately : wouldnt that be too strong ? On the other side, if you cannot manage this because someone with a Priest did not passed, then you dont want to give the opportunity to an opponent, so you probably will deny the special action.
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Alban Thomas
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Suggestions for alternative air favors :

Corrupted Air

1 (x3) – When accepting leech, pay one VP less
2 (x3) – Doubles each power gain on cult tracks
3 (x1) - No effect
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Matheus Tanuri Pascotini
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This is SO GOOD, I love it!
And probably makes the game more fair for some weak factions.
Wish this could be a new expansion, with the new race for 6 players (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1483639/idea-new-faction-ne...)
 
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Alban Thomas
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Grovast wrote:
Skyswooper wrote:
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
Unlike Melendor I'm not shocked by this trangression. Slightly better than FAV9, so the downside (no cult step) is necessary.
After thinking about it twice, it's unclear to me in which situations this favor would be great. A favor means you already have a temple (except for Auren and Ice Maidens), so this should be your second priest income, third if you go for a second temple mid game. You dont need that much Priests most of the time, and you will run out of supply quickly.
Reason why I think it should go with another way to use Priests without sending them to cults (see Fire2 below).


Corrupted Fire
0 (x3) - Income: priest
2 (x3) - Each time you convert a Priest to a Worker, get 1VP
4 (x1) - When passing, loose 1VP.

For the rest, I suggest to stick to Melendor's initial proposals


Corrupted Water
1 (x3) - When passing, 2VP for every city you have
2 (x3) - Special action : ordinate 1 worker to 1 Priest
3 (x1) - No effect


Corrupted Earth
1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)
2 (x3) – Special Action : use 3PW to gain a spade (Yetis pay 2PW and can use it multiple times if the Stronghold is build)
3 (x1) - No effect

And reminder :


Corrupted Air
1 (x3) – When accepting leech, pay one VP less
2 (x3) – Doubles each power gain on cult tracks
3 (x1) - No effect

More feedbacks from everyone would be nice, very few balance contradictions here, I dont feel like it is normal
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Grovast wrote:
Grovast wrote:
Skyswooper wrote:
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
Unlike Melendor I'm not shocked by this trangression. Slightly better than FAV9, so the downside (no cult step) is necessary.
After thinking about it twice, it's unclear to me in which situations this favor would be great. A favor means you already have a temple (except for Auren and Ice Maidens), so this should be your second priest income, third if you go for a second temple mid game. You dont need that much Priests most of the time, and you will run out of supply quickly.
Reason why I think it should go with another way to use Priests without sending them to cults (see Fire2 below).


Then maybe make it

Corrupted Fire 0 (x3) - Income: priest (+ 1 power ?)

So it becomes comparable with Earth 2: two cult steps are traded for more versatility as the priest can also be downgraded to a worker.

Grovast wrote:

Corrupted Fire 2 (x3) - Each time you convert a Priest to a Worker, get 1VP


This one feels weak. Plus if Corrupted Fire 2 has to replace Fire 2, then it should keep helping some faction to form town. I suggest this one:

Corrupted Fire 2 (x3) - You temples have now power value of 3.

Grovast wrote:

Corrupted Earth 1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)


I think this unnecessarily buffs and nerfs the wrong factions.
For example it buffs Mermaids and Chaos Magicians and nerfs Fakirs, Giants, volcano faction ...

This proposition should be a good replacement for earth 1:
Corrupted Earth 1 (x3) – When passing, rewards 1VP for each pair of already built dwellings.

Also, I feel that corrupted Air 1 is weak and earth 2 also change balance between factions.

Here are other suggestions:

Corrupted Air 1 (x3) – When passing, awards 3VP if the SH or SA is built, 4VP if SH and SA are built.
Comment : it buffs SH opening against fav11.

Corrupted water 2 (x3) – Grants +1 ship range / carpet range (does not count for network)
Comment : this should help Fakirs and is probably more appealing than fav11 early on. Better in water theme so switched with corrupted earth 2.

Corrupted earth 2 (x3) - Special action : ordinate 1 worker to 1 Priest


Also, Corrupted Air 2 is a good idea but how does it compare to regular Air 2 ? I think it gives less power than Air 2 overall.
 
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Matthias Reitberger
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Grovast wrote:
Grovast wrote:
Skyswooper wrote:
0 (x3) - Income: priest.
Unlike Melendor I'm not shocked by this trangression. Slightly better than FAV9, so the downside (no cult step) is necessary.
After thinking about it twice, it's unclear to me in which situations this favor would be great. A favor means you already have a temple (except for Auren and Ice Maidens), so this should be your second priest income, third if you go for a second temple mid game. You dont need that much Priests most of the time, and you will run out of supply quickly.


It's too good for Darklings, Acolytes and Ice Maidens.
For others it's a matter of timing, 2 priests second round is still great and later you can send them to the cults for 1 Step.
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Gurps Melendor
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I edited the original post, increasing to 4 cults. I’m not sure about the favors, there are some good options. Please send more suggestions and considerations.

I didn’t like the double side track idea because it would prevent some combinations unnecessary. Otherwise with Cult Tokens there could be more cults and favors in the future.
 
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Alban Thomas
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melendor wrote:
I edited the original post, increasing to 4 cults. I’m not sure about the favors, there are some good options. Please send more suggestions and considerations.
I didn’t like the double side track idea because it would prevent some combinations unnecessary. Otherwise with Cult Tokens there could be more cults and favors in the future.
You're the one in control since this is your original idea, let me argue though :

1) While I perfectly agree that more possible combinations would be great for variety, I think TM balance is so sensitive that it would be wiser to have alternative favors sets specifically designed to replace a given basic favor set. The exercise should be hard enough like that if you wanna pretend to produce something decently balanced.

2) On a more pratical point of view, it would be ten times more simple if you just have to print new favors images on (removable) sticker paper, cut and paste it on the back of the basic favor tiles (which is of no use). Then you just have to roll a die for each cult : on 3- use basic side, on 4+ flip the corresponding favor on their altervative sides. Of course, since it is fixed, the alternative favors graphics will figure the cult steps of the exact color. With your approach, you will have to represent some wildcards or something : it wont be that comfortable for everyone to visualize.
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Alban Thomas
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Skyswooper wrote:
if Corrupted Fire 2 has to replace Fire 2, then it should keep helping some faction to form town. I suggest this one:
Corrupted Fire 2 (x3) - You temples have now power value of 3.
This is a good idea but I already tried to design a custom faction with this ability, and the concern was the sanctuary. You need to set its power value to 4 as well if you want it to remain attractive.
I may be wrong but I think it s a bit too powerfull if you combine those two buffs on a single favor, like melendor currently updated in the original post.

Skyswooper wrote:
Grovast wrote:
Corrupted Earth 1 (x3) – 3VP when improving Dig, Ship or Carpet (and, some day, tunnel)"
I think this unnecessarily buffs and nerfs the wrong factions.
For example it buffs Mermaids and Chaos Magicians and nerfs Fakirs, Giants, volcano faction ...
This proposition should be a good replacement for earth 1:
Corrupted Earth 1 (x3) – When passing, rewards 1VP for each pair of already built dwellings.
I agree that it is worth to be playtested, and you might be right that reward for improving upgrade is not fair for some factions. This one buffs factions likely to go for a Dwelling rush instead. Maybe it's wiser.

Skyswooper wrote:
Also, I feel that corrupted Air 1 is weak and earth 2 also change balance between factions.
Here are other suggestions:
Corrupted Air 1 (x3) – When passing, awards 3VP if the SH or SA is built, 4VP if SH and SA are built.
Comment : it buffs SH opening against fav11.
Seems that it opens to some easy 12+ VP for any faction that opens with SH. It fits Auren alot in particular. With BON6 in the game, my feeling is that it could be too strong, but of course it has to be experimented.

Skyswooper wrote:
Corrupted water 2 (x3) – Grants +1 ship range / carpet range (does not count for network)
Comment : this should help Fakirs and is probably more appealing than fav11 early on. Better in water theme so switched with corrupted earth 2.
Sorry, but (except for Fakirs) I dont get it. If it does not count for scoring, what is the point besides expand purpose on early game ? Do you advance on the ship track and get the VPs ? If yes, does this mean that you will never be able to have a real 3-hex shipping value for the final scoring ? If no, does it count for BON10 ?

Skyswooper wrote:
Also, Corrupted Air 2 is a good idea but how does it compare to regular Air 2 ? I think it gives less power than Air 2 overall.
I made some calculations and it really depends on how you invest on cults.
Let's say you achieve step 10 on one cult, and step 7 on two other cults : total is +18PW over the game.
Somehow the effect is to delay the income, which makes it maybe more attractive than FAV8 on late game, and less attractive in early game. You probably wont get +3 extra power on round 1 if you go for this favor early.
 
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Matthias Reitberger
Germany
Nürnberg
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Grovast wrote:
Skyswooper wrote:
if Corrupted Fire 2 has to replace Fire 2, then it should keep helping some faction to form town. I suggest this one:
Corrupted Fire 2 (x3) - You temples have now power value of 3.
This is a good idea but I already tried to design a custom faction with this ability, and the concern was the sanctuary. You need to set its power value to 4 as well if you want it to remain attractive.


The main function of a SA for town forming is that you only need 3 Buildings. If TE have a power level of 3 this makes it even easier to form a town with 3 buildings, no need to increase power level of SA.
 
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Gurps Melendor
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Grovast wrote:
melendor wrote:
I edited the original post, increasing to 4 cults. I’m not sure about the favors, there are some good options. Please send more suggestions and considerations.
I didn’t like the double side track idea because it would prevent some combinations unnecessary. Otherwise with Cult Tokens there could be more cults and favors in the future.
You're the one in control since this is your original idea, let me argue though :

1) While I perfectly agree that more possible combinations would be great for variety, I think TM balance is so sensitive that it would be wiser to have alternative favors sets specifically designed to replace a given basic favor set. The exercise should be hard enough like that if you wanna pretend to produce something decently balanced.

2) On a more pratical point of view, it would be ten times more simple if you just have to print new favors images on (removable) sticker paper, cut and paste it on the back of the basic favor tiles (which is of no use). Then you just have to roll a die for each cult : on 3- use basic side, on 4+ flip the corresponding favor on their altervative sides. Of course, since it is fixed, the alternative favors graphics will figure the cult steps of the exact color. With your approach, you will have to represent some wildcards or something : it wont be that comfortable for everyone to visualize.


Please send all your thoughts. All opinions are important.
1 – I comprehend your concern about balance. It is indeed a crucial point. But I don’t see at the time anything unbalance to justify your suggestion. Of course there will be some synergies between the favors (like fire2; Mind2: +1 Power Value of your Temples and Sanctuary ; and Body1 - When passing, 2VP for every city you have) and I think it is great. So, I believe we should be caution about balance and treat the “double side solution” as a possibility, but I don’t think we have something to justify it right now.

2 – The “double side solution” would be a little more practical, but not too much. The “tokens solution” is not that complicated. I don’t see people pasting homemade material in official pieces. I wouldn’t. The “tokens solution” is more versatile and it is open for more favors and for the possibility of the 6th player / 5th cult (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1483639/idea-new-faction-nec...).
I believe it is better way to treat it.
 
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