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Subject: Explore variant rss

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EDG
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Instead of drawing one hex and deciding to place it or not using an Explore action, every race draws two hexes and picks one of those to place and discards the other (to the bottom of that sector's tile), or discards both. Planta pick two out of three hexes (placed one after the other), Draco pick one out of three.

Keep all the Sector III hexes in the game in the pile so they are available to choose from - do not set any aside at the start of the game. When the number of Sector III hexes appropriate for the player count is drawn (i.e. 5/10/14/16/18 hexes for 2/3/4/5 players), no more Sector III hexes can be drawn.

Essentially, everyone gets the Planta explore action, and the Planta and Draco Explores are improved a bit. I think this would mitigate some of the randomness in exploring. It would tip the balance so that people have a chance to get better hexes, but that's the idea - at least then you have less chance of wasting Explore actions, or being lumbered with crappy hexes that don't have resources that screw your entire game over.

Thoughts?
 
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Peter Bakija
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EDG_ wrote:
Essentially, everyone gets the Planta explore action, and the Planta and Draco Explores are improved a bit. I think this would mitigate some of the randomness in exploring. It would tip the balance so that people have a chance to get better hexes, but that's the idea - at least then you have less chance of wasting Explore actions, or being lumbered with crappy hexes that don't have resources that screw your entire game over.


The "problems" of the randomness of exploring is a vastly overstated issue. Most hexes you draw are generally fine to have. Once and a while, you end up with something horrible for your position, and you can always send it back. But the vast majority of the time, whatever hex you pick up is probably going to work out for you.

If you are really bent out of shape about random hex drawing, the variant mulligan rule that is floating around is probably gonna fix everything that you want fixed anyway (everyone can mulligan a tile draw once; if you do it twice, you lose a VP; if you do it three times, you lose 2VP; something like that).
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EDG
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bakija wrote:
The "problems" of the randomness of exploring is a vastly overstated issue. Most hexes you draw are generally fine to have. Once and a while, you end up with something horrible for your position, and you can always send it back. But the vast majority of the time, whatever hex you pick up is probably going to work out for you.


Sounds like you've never been screwed by the random draw then...

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If you are really bent out of shape about random hex drawing, the variant mulligan rule that is floating around is probably gonna fix everything that you want fixed anyway (everyone can mulligan a tile draw once; if you do it twice, you lose a VP; if you do it three times, you lose 2VP; something like that).


That's not bad. But I'd just prefer having a choice rather than being stuck with what I'm given. I think there's enough randomness in the game with the tech draws and discovery tiles without having to be screwed by random hex draws too.
 
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Peter Bakija
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EDG_ wrote:
Sounds like you've never been screwed by the random draw then...


I've played this game a lot. A. Lot. The vast majority of the time, whatever hex you draw is going to be fine. Every once and a while, you draw a hex that is particularly bad for whatever reason (usually, it is the result of desperately trying to cut off someone who is aggressing you, and you draw a hex that makes that impossible), and that can do you badly. But generally speaking? You can make a go with whatever hex you draw, and generally, the "I got screwed by horrible exploration draws!" issue is one that is vastly, vastly overblown and the result of folks just not really understanding how to leverage the hexes they get.

When folks are learning this game, they often think "Man! I keep drawing hexes with Ancients on them! It is totally screwing me!", until they realize that hexes with Ancients on them are vastly superior to empty hexes most of the time. Or they think "I really need hexes with X resources on them, and I keep not drawing those!" as opposed to making the hexes they *do* draw work for them.

The randomness of exploration in this game is much less of an issue than it initially appears when one first learns the game.

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That's not bad. But I'd just prefer having a choice rather than being stuck with what I'm given. I think there's enough randomness in the game with the tech draws and discovery tiles without having to be screwed by random hex draws too.


The game has random aspects. This is true. But the vast majority of the time, the randomness is vastly less important to winning and losing than simply playing well--making good choices from the ones you can make, taking advantage of the things you can, and not taking unnecessary risks that get you killed 'cause you rolled bad. Can you get killed in this game simply due to random chance? Sure. But it is pretty uncommon. Most of the time, you win or lose based on choices you made from what is available to you, not a random draw or crazy dice.
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EDG
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bakija wrote:
[q="EDG_"]When folks are learning this game, they often think "Man! I keep drawing hexes with Ancients on them! It is totally screwing me!", until they realize that hexes with Ancients on them are vastly superior to empty hexes most of the time. Or they think "I really need hexes with X resources on them, and I keep not drawing those!" as opposed to making the hexes they *do* draw work for them.


How do you do that though? If you need Science and you're lumbered with Materials and Money planets, then what can you do to make that work for you? You sit there sloooowly accumulating science over a few turns, hope the Orbital tech shows up, and then spend your Science to get it and then start building orbitals to get you more science? I was lucky in that there was the Research Labs development that I could buy to give me the Science I needed to even start to get anywhere. But it's either that or blow the Explore action and throw the hex away and get even further behind.

Granted, I'm sure I don't make good decisions when I play (I'm no expert by any means) which is why I lose, but the randomness has really screwed me several times. I often just get stalled out because I can't do anything useful. (at least I know that Ancient hexes aren't that bad though).
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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EDG_ wrote:
How do you do that though? If you need Science and you're lumbered with Materials and Money planets, then what can you do to make that work for you?

Change your plans.

In this case, when you've got materials and money, you can take more actions. At the start of the game, that means you can explore more, or build ships and take on ancients. Also, if you have material and money advantage, you can more easily battle other players and take their science planets.

Or you can explore toward other players and contact them. Exchange ambassadors and improve your science production in that way.
 
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Peter O
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There are also wild card planets and the trade agreements meaning you get to correct for distributions lacking in something. If you're really desperate you can cycle cubes on and off the gray planet. The game doesn't track which color a gray planet cube comes from, so you send it back to whichever track you want.

I've also played a lot of games and have never felt screwed by hex draws.
 
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Peter Bakija
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EDG_ wrote:
How do you do that though? If you need Science and you're lumbered with Materials and Money planets, then what can you do to make that work for you?


As noted, you leverage the things you have. If you have little science, but you have money and materials, explore more (and hopefully find some science) or build ships and go aggressive (either killing off Ancients and getting their good systems, or go kill your neighbor).

What makes one good at Eclipse is being able to do well with what you end up with.
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Udon Noodle
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EDG_ wrote:
bakija wrote:
[q="EDG_"]When folks are learning this game, they often think "Man! I keep drawing hexes with Ancients on them! It is totally screwing me!", until they realize that hexes with Ancients on them are vastly superior to empty hexes most of the time. Or they think "I really need hexes with X resources on them, and I keep not drawing those!" as opposed to making the hexes they *do* draw work for them.


How do you do that though? If you need Science and you're lumbered with Materials and Money planets, then what can you do to make that work for you? You sit there sloooowly accumulating science over a few turns, hope the Orbital tech shows up, and then spend your Science to get it and then start building orbitals to get you more science? I was lucky in that there was the Research Labs development that I could buy to give me the Science I needed to even start to get anywhere. But it's either that or blow the Explore action and throw the hex away and get even further behind.

Granted, I'm sure I don't make good decisions when I play (I'm no expert by any means) which is why I lose, but the randomness has really screwed me several times. I often just get stalled out because I can't do anything useful. (at least I know that Ancient hexes aren't that bad though).


How about this as a random suggestion:
You make the explore action have two "modes". When taking the explore action you can choose to either perform it as normal or perform a "scan" which allows you to draw an extra tile, you then choose one of those tiles and set it aside until next turn and discard the other. You can then place that tile on your next turn as an action without using an additional action disk and proceed as normal. I.e you move slowly/cautiously ( 2 turns and 1 action disk), but reduce randomness, or you choose to move quickly (1 turn and 1 action disk) but rely more on luck. The other way to look at it is in the standard game if you draw a really bad tile, you throw it away and waste a turn, then on the following turn try again(i.e. 2 turns and 2 action disks). The scan allows you to do something similar, but not waste an additional action as a reward for strategically choosing to be cautious. It is slow, but more efficient and you have more strategic choice. "lucky" people could still try and get two tiles for your every one, but I have played this enough times to know luck falls both ways on explore. (planta and draco would be similarly improved as per your original comments)

I can understand your frustration when you draw empty space and everyone else is grabbing excellent systems. We play with no bankruptcy allowed as well which reduces explore frenzies and allows some 3's to still be around in the second round and generally makes the game feel better for us.
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Peter O
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Drawing empty space means a discovery tile, which is just fine. At the minimum it's 2vp. Furthermore there are none in Tier I. Finally, it probably sucks because you have a no bankruptcy house rule. I'd never play with that rule. What's the point of stretching out the explore phase? We don't use that rule and it seems like I often explore in turn 2 anyway. If you mean strictly tier 3 exploring, then in one game try the following.

Play someone like the Orions who don't really care about tier 3 and explore tier 1 first. If you don't find ancients, explore someone else's tier 1 for them. They may start to appreciate the importance of doing it themself. (And then explore tier 3 with your third explore, or move your cruiser into their home system)
 
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EDG
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unoodle wrote:
How about this as a random suggestion:
You make the explore action have two "modes". When taking the explore action you can choose to either perform it as normal or perform a "scan" which allows you to draw an extra tile, you then choose one of those tiles and set it aside until next turn and discard the other. You can then place that tile on your next turn as an action without using an additional action disk and proceed as normal. I.e you move slowly/cautiously ( 2 turns and 1 action disk), but reduce randomness, or you choose to move quickly (1 turn and 1 action disk) but rely more on luck. The other way to look at it is in the standard game if you draw a really bad tile, you throw it away and waste a turn, then on the following turn try again(i.e. 2 turns and 2 action disks). The scan allows you to do something similar, but not waste an additional action as a reward for strategically choosing to be cautious. It is slow, but more efficient and you have more strategic choice. "lucky" people could still try and get two tiles for your every one, but I have played this enough times to know luck falls both ways on explore. (planta and draco would be similarly improved as per your original comments)


I like this! I might suggest that next time we play.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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unoodle wrote:


How about this as a random suggestion:
You make the explore action have two "modes". When taking the explore action you can choose to either perform it as normal or perform a "scan" which allows you to draw an extra tile, you then choose one of those tiles and set it aside until next turn and discard the other. You can then place that tile on your next turn as an action without using an additional action disk and proceed as normal. I.e you move slowly/cautiously ( 2 turns and 1 action disk), but reduce randomness, or you choose to move quickly (1 turn and 1 action disk) but rely more on luck. The other way to look at it is in the standard game if you draw a really bad tile, you throw it away and waste a turn, then on the following turn try again(i.e. 2 turns and 2 action disks). The scan allows you to do something similar, but not waste an additional action as a reward for strategically choosing to be cautious. It is slow, but more efficient and you have more strategic choice. "lucky" people could still try and get two tiles for your every one, but I have played this enough times to know luck falls both ways on explore. (planta and draco would be similarly improved as per your original comments)


If you do this, I would place the "scanned" tile facedown in the hex location it is intended to go in. Also, if another player takes a standard explore action for the same hex, they must take the scanned tile. It's your loss and their gain assuming the tile is worthwhile.
 
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EDG
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veector wrote:
If you do this, I would place the "scanned" tile facedown in the hex location it is intended to go in. Also, if another player takes a standard explore action for the same hex, they must take the scanned tile. It's your loss and their gain assuming the tile is worthwhile.


Though you'll have to account for wormhole orientation. You must have been able to access the hex to scan it - if that means that it's oriented so your neighbour can't, then they won't be able to take it.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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EDG_ wrote:
veector wrote:
If you do this, I would place the "scanned" tile facedown in the hex location it is intended to go in. Also, if another player takes a standard explore action for the same hex, they must take the scanned tile. It's your loss and their gain assuming the tile is worthwhile.


Though you'll have to account for wormhole orientation. You must have been able to access the hex to scan it - if that means that it's oriented so your neighbour can't, then they won't be able to take it.


I feel like that puts the fun in it. Doesn't matter what orientation your opponent was thinking of. If you get to it first, the wormhole has shifted in your favor.
 
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EDG
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veector wrote:
I feel like that puts the fun in it. Doesn't matter what orientation your opponent was thinking of. If you get to it first, the wormhole has shifted in your favor.


I don't like that at all. The wormholes don't shift any other time, why would they here? It's not Schrodinger's hex . Plus, I wouldn't think it's fun to be screwed out of an action by another player.

If a player scans the hex, it stays in the orientation they put it in. I think it should actually go face up, they're just not allowed to move any ships or cubes or influence discs into it til the next turn.
 
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