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Risk: Star Wars Edition» Forums » Variants

Subject: Endor Shield "Push Back" Variant rss

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Jonathan Starr
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So after playing this game, I immediately noticed two problems with the Endor Shield Track. First, it doesn't feel very thematic (i.e. it's not a battle), and second, the empire doesn't really have any effect.

To test this, I played solo a few games, just the endor track, where some games I played as the empire really trying to slow down the rebels, and some games where the rebels had no resistance. There was very little difference. On average the game was 10-12 turns for the rebels to take down the shield, regardless if the empire placed down troopers or not. If they did affect the game, they maybe added 1-2 turns for the rebels, usually near the end. Maybe I need a larger sample size, but the empire seems rather useless on endor, and they may as well use their turns elsewhere. What this does is it turns endor into a clock, rather than a battle, completely taking away from the fun of this whole 'three battles' idea. Why even have the ability to place down stormtroopers then?

I saw some great variants by others on the forum. However, they either felt a bit more complicated, or didn't feel thematic enough. I wanted to try and find a balance as I don't just play with gamers, but I love theme.

So after trying it a few times solo, here's my "push back" variant, which follows the original rules a bit.


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Endor Shield 'Push Back' Variant

The rebels play exactly the same as per the rules. These rules only affect the empire player.

- When you draw an Empire Endor Shield Order, you immediately place two stormtroopers in front of the rebel. ** If there are already two tokens, you place none. ** If there is already one token, you only place one, so the end result is that there are two in front of the rebel. Note: You cannot place more than one stormtrooper in one spot. i.e. you cannot stack

- The third stormtrooper 'attacks' the rebels. To do this, you role 1 die. You need to roll the difference + 1, and if you succeed, you push back the rebel by one space, and place the third stormtrooper in that empty space.

'The difference' is the amount needed to roll for the rebels, subtracted from six.

Example 1 - If the space behind a rebel is a 2, then the difference is 4 (6-2=4), and you add 1 (4+1=5). So the empire needs to roll a 5 or more to push the rebel back one space.

Example 2 - If the rebel has a 4 behind them, then the difference is 2, and so the empire needs to roll a 3 or more.


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I haven't play tested this enough to know if the +1 to the difference is needed, however on the few plays I tried, it was far too easy, near the end, for the empire to play 'keep-away' without it. It was actually a bit frustrating, so I added that in as an attempt to make it more playable. Feel free to remove it if the empire still makes little difference (and it might be easier when playing with kids to remove some of the math).

With this variant, if the empire fights back, it came close to 15-20 turns instead, but I don't have a big sample size. I tried some more difficult variations (stacking, 2 push backs each turn, etc.) but they made each endor track last almost up to 30 turns, which was too much I think.

Variant to my variant - Feel free to use the same idea, but instead of the difference+1, you use the same value as the rebel spaces, or a set amount for the entire track (like say 3+). If you do, let me know how it works out. I like using the difference or difference+1 as it makes it progressively harder for the rebels near the end (which to me is thematic - like stormtroopers calling in back-up), making the final victory that much more gratifying.
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Tony Cashman
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Jonathan,
We have reduced the rebel dice to 4 instead of 5. That variant lacks the complexity of yours, but it did slow the rebels up by 3 or 4 turns. What about an old-skool Risk battle between the Storm Troopers and the Rebels using 3 dice for the Rebels and two for the Empire?
 
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Jonathan Starr
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I'm sure reducing the dice numbers work in increasing the turns, but does it make the empire's role on the track more useful?

The reason I thought of this variant was also to address the fact that the empire feels a bit useless on the moon, and a strategy would be to completely ignore it (except maybe a bit near the end).

Actively pushing back on the rebels means the empire has to push back to slow down the rebels, or else the rebels just move on through with little effort. It gives them a more active role. I.e. fighting back on endor gives the empire more time

I'm sure rolling dice like risk could work too. I was just trying to find something that is similar to what it currently is, and add a slight active element to it. I haven't tested doing it risk style... not that this is even risk.
 
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Graham Richardson
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I like the idea, I just wonder if this wouldn't screw up the Balance... After the Rule Clarification the game is very close to balanced, and I would assume that running 5+ more rounds would make things pretty easy for the Empire. Have you seen this shift happen or do you feel like it keeps the balance?
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Jonathan Starr
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When we played this the first few times we didn't know about the rule clarifications, and I didn't use this variant. After coming here, I have seen the changes and plan on implementing them.

I have to play more to see if it'll work or not. I played this solo to try, but just the track.

I suppose right now, it's wishful thinking, just to fix the issues I mentioned, for this specific battle. I went into this while believing the rebels had the upper hand. If you say it's balanced now, it may well imbalance it. On the flip side, it doesn't add too many turns, just a few more depending on how much focus there is from the imperial player (and how good/bad your rolls are). I will have to try soon with a full game, and new rule clarifications.
 
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Tony Cashman
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As far as balance goes, the Rebels were slowed down by 2 turns when we experimented with 4 dice instead of 5. The problem is, we were also messing around with awarding extra command cards every time a player inflicted damage during the duel. Because Vader won the duel, I ended up with the usual bonus cards plus at least one extra command from inflicting more damage on Luke. We decided that we shouldn't mess with the command cards again. That was where our game turned for the Empire.
 
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Jonathan Starr
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I could see how using 4 dice would help balance.

However, my main concern is it doesn't feel like it adds more theme to that battle. I proposed this variant as a means to also bring theme back while trying to balance (which is something that needs testing, and not everyone agrees is necessary due to the new rules).

Honestly, putting down stormtroopers to slow down the rebels (whether with 4 or 5 dice) feels less like a battle, and more like putting sticks in front of a lawnmower.

At least with pushing back, there's an interaction, there's something physical that they're doing.

I suppose it's because I got this game hoping for 3 battles, not one battle with two side things to do, you know?
 
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Andrej Swidsinski
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JonathanStarr wrote:
So after playing this game, I immediately noticed two problems with the Endor Shield Track. First, it doesn't feel very thematic (i.e. it's not a battle), and second, the empire doesn't really have any effect.

...the empire seems rather useless on endor, and they may as well use their turns elsewhere. What this does is it turns endor into a clock, rather than a battle, completely taking away from the fun of this whole 'three battles' idea. Why even have the ability to place down stormtroopers then?

I saw some great variants by others on the forum. However, they either felt a bit more complicated, or didn't feel thematic enough...


I totally agree with your analysis of the endor battle. I would just add that it is a difficult thing to change these rules because it is the games timer and if you push it to much in the favor of one side that side is most likely going to win.

Regardless I too have been thinking about a variant that will give the imperial player some impact and something to think about on the Endor track. I have tried this variant already and liked it but I´m not quite done playtesting.
I hope my solution doesn´t sound too complicated… Once you´ve tried it during a game it’s not so much of a deal but Its the kind of rule that is easier to show than to explain.


But enough of the introductory. The basic idea of my variant is that the rebels are going to build up momentum (represented by rerolls) if they are allowed to proceed uninterrupted. So the goal of imperials is to slow them down by setting up ambushes on the rebels way, which is further motivated by allowing the imperials to place storm trooper anywhere they want.


General rule changes:
The rebel player has two places on which he distributes his played order cards: Whenever he plays an Endor order the order card will be placed to the left of the Endor track on the so called “rebels-momentum pile”. Whenever the rebel player walks into an imperial ambush he has to remove all cards from the rebels-momentum pile and place them on his discard pile. (All other orders are placed on the discard pile according to the standard rules).


Rebels rule changes:
Whenever you choose the Endor order follow the following steps:

1. Count the number of cards on the rebels momentum pile. Once you are done counting, place your current Endor order card on the rebels momentum pile.

2. Roll four dice. You have one reroll for every card that you counted in step one. Those rerolls can be applied to the same dice several times.
(For example: Player A rolled 2 sixes and a 2 and an 1. Player A has 3 rerolls. He decides to reroll the 2 and the 1 resulting in a 4 and a 2. Now he may use his remaining reroll to reroll the 2.)

3. Assign your dice according to the rule book. Whenever you assign one of your dice to a spot with a storm Trooper token you have to remove all cards from the rebels momentum pile and place them on top of your discard pile.


Imperial player rule changes:
Whenever you choose the Endor order you may place up to three Stormtrooper tokens on any empty space on the Endor track. These three tokens have to be placed next to each other!
 
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