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Race for the Galaxy: Xeno Invasion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Five-expansion custom mix rss

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Introduction and methods
Following in the same vein of my previous efforts to combine Alien Artifacts with the previous expansions, here I outline my custom mix for including all five expansions.

In simplest terms, include cards from the base game and all expansions (except of course for the redundant Gambling World cards: the generalized one from Rebel vs Imperium is universally adaptable), but remove some set of specific cards in order to maintain balance.

Essentially in almost all cases, a card is removed from the mix if it is "too powerful." The power of a card was taken from the burn.im stats page for Arc 1 cards in games without goals. Power of a card (P) is proportional to the frequency that a card appears in a tableau at game end (f) times its normalized win rating (ω), which is a proxy for how frequently it appeared in a winning tableau, which is then normalized by the win rate of the players who won with it:

P = f×ω

Power values for all recorded cards span a factor of 17, from Separatist colony (0.003) to Pan-Galactic Affluence (0.050).

There are some limitations to this method: cards with a principal ability that is triggered by discarding it from the tableau (e.g. Colony Ship) do not have recorded stats, because they typically will not appear in any ending tableau, provided that their strongest ability was used.

Other notes:
* Start worlds are only counted if they're played mid-game.
* Developments with two copies are normalized by having their frequencies halved.
* Alien Artifacts and Xeno Invasion of course have zero stats available for these sites. However, since they were designed to be separate arcs, and while keeping the Arc 1 power creep in mind, these cards are assumed to be fairly balanced.

With this power rating (P), I then selected candidate cards for removal following this logic:

1. ALIEN GUARDIAN (BoW) and ALIEN SENTINELS (AA) are identical in that they are both 9/9 military alien windfall worlds, but Guardian has additional abilities and comes with an additional prestige, so these cards cannot be balanced with respect to each other. Since BoW suffers greatly from power creep and AA is assumed to be well balanced, the power rating for Alien Guardian (0.0248) was used as a first-guage threshold. Most cards at or above this value will be rejected outright.

1a. Similarly, there are cards with identical costs/VPs and that are otherwise identical, where one version has one or more additional abilities, making it technically stronger. I dealt with these on a case-by-case basis.

2. REBEL STRONGHOLD (RvI) similarly is a 9/9 military world that provides a prestige. However, being a Rebel military world also means that it synergizes with many, many other cards, even more so than Alien Guardian does. Its power rating (0.031) was considered to be a hard limit. Any cards at or above this number were taken out.

3. Unlike with my previous all-expansion-mix efforts, no cards were rejected on the basis of having too low of a power value. This allows, in particular, Old Earth to remain in the deck where previously I had removed it.

4. Since Arcs 2 and 3 were intended to replace Arc 1, there are redundant start world numbers. Rather than invent new rules to allow all instances of a start world number in, I instead rejected all but one of a given number. Almost exclusively, the Arc 1 card remained, and often the Arc 2/3 card was rejected because of its susceptibility to a turn-1 takeover. But in truth, this was just used as an excuse criterion. You could probably use any version of a given start number that you like: turn-1 takeovers aren't a significant threat to game functionality.

5. In one case, there is a name conflict (Rebel Resistance). Even though there's nothing wrong with keeping both of these in from a mechanics perspective, I was not comfortable letting this conflict remain.

6. In a few cases, the change of frequency of certain types of cards would cause a card to become more or less powerful (esp. 6-cost developments). I thus estimated a new power rating for the cards and rejected (or allowed) some cards that otherwise might have been seen as balanced/powerful.

7. Lastly, in order to maintain a balance with things like percentage of worlds that are Genes, Military, Windfall, etc, I rejected or allowed a couple cards irrespective of their power rating. In cases where I would have to re-introduce a card of a certain type (e.g. Alien goods), I re-introduced the lowest power-rating card I could. Likewise, if I had to reject a card, I rejected the highest power rating I could.

7a. As a consequence of point 7, there were times I had to remove some number of (e.g.) 3-cost developments. Rather than pull out both copies of a card, I sometimes took out only one copy, of two different developments, resulting in greater card variety overall.

As a fun visual, I've included two figures to demonstrate the power distribution of the Arc 1 cards.


Figure 1: (Normalized) histograms of the power distribution of all Arc 1 cards (green), and of those less powerful than Alien Guardian (blue). The background blue and green curves are the corresponding cumulative distributions of these samples. Vertical lines delineate the power level of Rebel Stronghold and Alien Guardian. The dotted black line indicates the cutoff for a low-end region where the cumulative distribution is roughly symmetrically distributed around a central value, centered on the dashed line. The orange line denotes an early test cut-off threshold that aims to eliminate the high-end spike in the blue histogram; this was later rejected. The final threshold is very slightly above Alien Guardian, at 0.0254.


Figure 2: (Normalized) breakdown of the power levels of the constituent Arc 1 expansions. All power values are given for non-Goal full-Arc-1 games. Consequently, the base game card distribution (black) should not be interpreted as the power distribution of these cards without any other expansions in play. Note the steady climb of the median power values for the expansions, and especially for Brink of War (purple).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyway, on to the card list. The cards have been sorted by most general type and color-coded by expansion. Unlike in my previous efforts, no cards marked with a "your first game" number have been determined to be overpowered; however, in the case of Start World 5, care should be taken that the correct four start cards are used for the corresponding start world, since all 12 cards marked from all three Arcs are included.


Five-expansion custom card mix
Use all the cards from the base game and Arcs 1, 2, and 3; but remove the following:

Non-6 Developments:

GALACTIC ADVERTISERS (RvI) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
GALACTIC MARKETS (BoW): too powerful.
GALACTIC POWER BROKERS (AA) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
IMPERIUM INVASION FLEET (BoW) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced. This is one of those cards that doesn't have pertinent stats. Since it's from BoW, I assumed it was too powerful, but I decided at the last minute to put one in (at the expense of one Power Brokers) because I like the idea that this card ensures that non-military worlds are no longer safe from takeovers.
IMPROVED LOGISTICS (TGS) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
INVESTMENT CREDITS (RftG) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
MERCENARY FLEET (RvI) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
MINING CONGLOMERATE (RftG) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
PAN-GALACTIC MEDIATOR (BoW): too powerful.
R&D CRASH PROGRAM (RvI) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
TERRAFORMING ENGINEERS (BoW) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.
TERRAFORMING ROBOTS (RftG) (ONE copy): to keep the distribution of developments balanced.

6-cost Developments:

ALIEN CORNUCOPIA (BoW): too strong: too many ALIEN cards are available in the custom mix.
ALIEN TECH INSTITUTE (RftG): too strong: too many ALIEN cards are available in the custom mix.
GALACTIC FEDERATION (RftG): too powerful.
PAN-GALACTIC AFFLUENCE (BoW): this is by far the strongest and most-frequently played Arc 1 card. It's gotta go.
PAN-GALACTIC HOLOGRID (BoW): too powerful.
PAN-GALACTIC RESEARCH (RvI): too powerful.
TERRAFORMING GUILD (TGS): too powerful.
UNIVERSAL PEACE INSTITUTE (BoW): this is not particularly powerful, but Pan-Galactic Mediator has been removed. I don't want a card to be referenced that's not in the set.
UPLIFT CODE (RvI): this is boosted too much by the contents of the custom mix.

Non-Start Worlds:

ALIEN BOOBY TRAP (BoW): too powerful.
ALIEN BURIAL SITE (BoW): too powerful.
ALIEN GUARDIAN (BoW): too strong; compare this to Alien Sentinels (AA) that has the exact same cost and good and VP score but does not have the starting Prestige or Prestige power (as noted above).
ALIEN MONOLITH (RvI): too powerful.
ALIEN TOURIST ATTRACTION (BoW): too powerful.
ALIEN UPLIFT CHAMBER (AA): made too powerful from the increased frequency of Uplift cards in the custom mix.
FEDERATION CAPITAL (BoW): too powerful.
IMPERIUM BLASTER GEM CONSORTIUM (RvI): too powerful.
PAN-GALACTIC SECURITY COUNCIL (BoW): It's a neat card but unfortunately too powerful.
RAVAGED UPLIFT WORLD (BoW): made too powerful by the increased frequency in chromosome worlds.
REBEL COUNCIL (BoW): too powerful.
REBEL FUEL REFINERY (BoW): too powerful.
REBEL HOMEWORLD (RftG): too powerful.
REBEL OUTPOST (RftG): too powerful.
REBEL RESISTANCE (AA): this card has a name conflict with a world from Xeno Invasions. This card always felt a bit underpowered to me, while the XI card seems well balanced. This version was taken out.
REBEL STRONGHOLD (RvI): too powerful.
RETROFIT & SALVAGE, INC. (BoW): too powerful.
UPLIFT GENE BREEDERS (BoW): too powerful.
UPLIFT REVOLT WORLD (BoW): made too powerful by the increased frequency in chromosome worlds.

Start Worlds:

In essence, ALL Arc 2 and Arc 3 start worlds (numbered 5 to 9) are removed. The single exception is that Uplift Researchers (AA) was kept in while Doomed World (TGS) was removed for being too strong of a starter.

ALIEN ARTIFACT HUNTERS [6] (AA): there's a start-world-number conflict with Ancient Race (TGS), and AR is just a cooler card.
ALIEN FIRST CONTACT TEAM [5] (XI): there's a start-world-number conflict with Seperatist Colony (TGS), and this card is susceptible to a turn-1 takeover. I like the idea of the Xenos being a sudden unpredictable force such that the empires couldn't have specialized defense ahead of time.
ANTI-XENO DEFENSE POST [9] (XI): there's a start-world-number conflict with Rebel Cantina (RvI), and this card is susceptible to a turn-1 takeover.
DOOMED WORLD [8] (TGS): most frequently drafted start world by a wide margin, and rightly so: it's vastly too powerful as a start world.
FRONTIER CAPITOL [9] (AA): there's a start-world-number conflict with Rebel Cantina (RvI), and this card is susceptible to a turn-1 takeover.
REBEL CADRE [7] (XI): there's a start-world-number conflict with Damaged Alien Factory (TGS), and this card is susceptible to a turn-1 takeover.
REBEL MUTINEERS [7] (AA): there's a start-world-number conflict with Damaged Alien Factory (TGS), and this card is susceptible to a turn-1 takeover.
SENTIENT ROBOTS [5] (AA): there's a start-world-number conflict with Seperatist Colony (TGS), and this card is susceptible to a turn-1 takeover.
STARRY RIFT PIONEERS [6] (XI): there's a start-world-number conflict with Ancient Race (TGS). I think it's a fine card otherwise, but like above, if I have to choose a start world to throw out, I'm throwing out the one with Xeno defense.
TERRAFORMING SURVEYORS [8] (XI): there's a start-world-number conflict with Uplift Researchers (AA).

In all, 54 cards were removed, and 271 remain (83%). 94% of base game cards remain, as do 81% of TGS and RvI cards. Only 52% of BoW cards survived the cut, further underscoring the Arc 1 power creep that culminated with Brink of War.

The reported power of the cards has inherent uncertainty, and the Arc 2 and 3 cards have no reported power. Additionally, I had to make estimations but it's ultimately impossible to completely determine the adjustment of each card's power based on the change in deck composition. Use the above list as a guideline that isn't absolute.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Custom mix stats

Below are the stats of the card type distributions. I aimed to make the frequency of every card lie between Arc 2 and Arc 3. For the most part, I succeeded!


Table 1: Ratios of developments to worlds, military to non-military, production to windfall; and distributions of developments. Integers are counts of that card type.


Table 2: Counts distribution of developments and worlds of each subtype. The columns represent the cost (defense) of the cards, from 0 to 9.

Here's my entire planning sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wyumeNUmwMgxGwWnfBFk...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How to deal with the modules:

Goals? Prestige Leader?
Prestige tokens are now so vastly infrequent (about 20% as frequent as they are in an Arc 1 game) that any Prestige Leader would gain an unfair advantage. Better to play without the PL marker. Prestige itself is little different now from VP, but occasionally it distinguishes itself.
With regards to the goals, the assessment of "too strong" or "too infrequent" was made with respect to burn.im's games without goals, as stated at the beginning. I don't like using goals and if you wish to, please use caution, as there is no telling how the strength of many of the goals will have changed.

To Orb Or Not To Orb
The Orb variant is a polarizing one; some players love it and many hate it. The custom mix will be unaffected whether or not you play with the Orb. However, for those of you who can't decide whether to use it in a particular game, I offer this variant: deal each player a random player color from all seven available colored card sets. The cyan and purple card sets do not have an Explore: Orb action card so if at least one player gets dealt one of these colors, do not play with the Orb. Otherwise, do use the Orb. The beauty of this variant is that the more players you have, the less likely you are to play with the Orb, and it's been reported that the Orb adds too much time to the game when you have too many players.

Prestige/Search action card
Similarly to above: deal a random player color to each player. The orange card set does not have a Prestige/Search action card, so if anyone gets dealt the orange cards, do not play with the Prestige/Search action cards. This affects the game in a relatively minor way, however.

Xeno Invasion
Again, similarly to above: deal a random player color to each player. The orange, cyan, and indigo card sets do not have a Produce/Repair action card, so if anyone gets dealt one of these colors, do not play with the Invasion game. The frequency of cards that provide Xeno military/defense have dropped by about 40%. This should really only become a problem in wave 3, where some Xeno attacks are (generic military)+N. In a normal XI game, your Xeno military and defense would help protect you from invasion, and you would fall back on the bunker ability as a last resort. Expect to have more worlds damaged than in an ordinary XI game; however, the custom mix does not critically invalidate the XI game.

To account for the 16% reduction in density of cards that offer Temporary Military or Xeno Military/Defense, remove the following cards from Wave III:
3, 8, 9, Military+5

As expected, players can use temporary military bonuses from alien artifact tokens to help them defend against Xeno wave cards.

Explore rules
Disregard the Arc 3 rule update that all Explore actions are "mix with hand." This allows the Mix With Hand ability on many cards to still have an effect. Of course, combined with the reduced frequency of Xeno-specific powers, this will make the Xenos more formidable.

Damaged worlds, extended rules
It should be obvious, but worlds damaged by Xeno attacks don't function as ordinary worlds. For example, they can't be targeted by takeover abilities.


The Solo Game
The Solo Game should remain largely unchanged except for two things:
1. You will need to use specialized mat tiles and rules for the XI start worlds and Invasion module (which can be found here).
1a. The Robot CAN support Alien Artifacts' Orb module: refer to this file.
1aa. Unlike normal players, the Robot can't use temporary military bonuses granted by alien artifact tokens to defend against Xeno invasion cards.
2. Start World 8 is now Uplift Researchers (AA) instead of Doomed World (TGS). Ignoring this and using the Doomed World mat tiles should be perfectly acceptable, but you can refer to the above file for custom Uplift Researchers mat tiles.
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Much respect! Great post, yum.

kungfro wrote:
Rather than pull out both copies of a card, I sometimes took out only one copy, of two different developments, resulting in greater card variety overall.

Hadn't considered that. So a perk of a cube is that you can make it a deck of all unique cards. That's very appealing to me.

Oh man, some of the signature flavor cards are gone. ACorn+ATI leave Alien strat with all bad 6devs; no GFed Race is just not a universe i want to live in! ;) A lot of the standout cards are gutted, so that, yes, this is very balanced, but it loses all the texture and flavor of what Tom came up with. I applaud the effort though. Never has there been a more balanced version of official Race, likely.

I'm surprised Terraforming Guild is too strong, it always felt pretty bad to me in BoW.

Wait, Rebel Homeworld and Rebel Outpost too powerful? What is left for big military? :P Military is already crap in the actual unbalanced game, i can't imagine in this custom mix... Though maybe it's relatively better because it's not facing off against all the all-stars.

Ah, Doomed World too strong of a starter, that can't be right. IIRC its burn.im BoW stats are incorrect because they couldn't differentiate a tableau that started with Doomed World, VS a tableau that sacrificed its homeworld with Terraforming Engineers (i.e. DW's true winrate was massively inflated by Terraforming Engineers' winrate). I mean DW certainly got better in BoW, after long being the worst/2nd worst (TGS/RvI) homeworld, but certainly it's still crap given you've removed almost all the good BoW targets.

kungfro wrote:
deal each player a random player color from all seven available colored card sets.

There are 8 player colors (arc1:6, arc2:1, arc3:1). Don't know if that changes anything for your module selection randomization. Would be cool to also have a randomization method on whether to use goals.

TBH i think all the modules break down in a cube like this (but that's not a bad thing per se). Orb cards are much rarer; Xeno Invasion is brutal enough already without a 40% reduction; prestige to use the prestige action would be very rare; takeovers would be very rare.

kungfro wrote:
This does not count toward Military vs. Xenos bonuses.

I don't understand this disclaimer. Maybe your intention was "Military vs. Xenos powers do not count."?


Do you have any of the major custom expansions, and have you seen the promo homeworlds? Patronage/Knowledge & Power/Fusion. Would be fun to see a super cube made of everything. I'd certainly throw it together, try a hundred plays with the Vancouver Race players, and report back.
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At some point I want to try sometime similar but with the aim of creating a deck of a similar size to AA and probably no expansion modules or prestige (so I'd probably end up taking very few cards from BoW). Edit - but not any time soon as I need to play RvI more, actually play my copy of BoW and get and play XI, and by that time there will probably be a new expansion!

kungfro wrote:
UPLIFT REVOLT WORLD (BoW): made too powerful by the increased frequency in chromosome worlds.

You've still got 3 cards that give 1 military per chromosome world (Uplift Mercenary Force, Rebel Uplift World & Uplift Coalition). Uplift Coalition is probably stronger than Uplift Revolt World - it's better (+1 explore) if you have one other chromosome world and worth one more VP for every chromosome world after that.

What rules are you using for explore? Standard rules or arc 3 rules? With such a large deck it seems there would be an argument for using arc 3 mix & match but that makes any mix & match explore powers useless.

kungfro wrote:
In essence, ALL Arc 2 and Arc 3 start worlds (numbered 5 to 9) are removed.


This seems like a shame, I really like the AA start worlds, I'm not so keen on TGS & RvI by comparison. Did you consider modifying arc 2 & 3 military start worlds to non-military worlds to remove the takeover vulnerability? I seem to remember a discussion where Tom detailed what one of the AA start worlds would look like it it was in the base game (Frontier Capital I think) - I think the only change would have been making it a 2 cost non-military world (and removing one of the cheap devs which gives a dev discount for balance). I've wondered what the arc 1 start worlds would have looked like if takeovers hadn't been included.
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Thanks for the responses guys. I'll start by reiterating that since the reported stats are a bit nebulous, my "final" deck is still in flux and is nebulous, so if particular inclusions and removals don't appeal to you, you should be able to swap them out and still maintain a good card representation.

entranced wrote:
So a perk of a cube is that you can make it a deck of all unique cards. That's very appealing to me.

Yes, although I make sure to tell new players that you can't own multiple copies of a card, inevitably one player will forget and try to. Had I designed this game, I would have made every card unique.
That said, there simply aren't enough unique developments to go around, so there need to be some doubles. I just figured removing one each of two types was more fun than pulling both copies of one type.

Quote:
No GFed Race is just not a universe i want to live in!

Likewise with me and SETI. However, GF is a monster!

Quote:
I'm surprised Terraforming Guild is too strong, it always felt pretty bad to me in BoW.

My guess is that you usually played with Goals, and these stats use games without Goals. Perhaps there's something there?

Quote:
Wait, Rebel Homeworld and Rebel Outpost too powerful? What is left for big military? Military is already crap in the actual unbalanced game, i can't imagine in this custom mix... Though maybe it's relatively better because it's not facing off against all the all-stars.

I was careful not to pull ALL high-scoring military worlds, but some seemed to come in higher than others.

Quote:
Ah, Doomed World too strong of a starter, that can't be right. IIRC its burn.im BoW stats are incorrect because they couldn't differentiate a tableau that started with Doomed World, VS a tableau that sacrificed its homeworld with Terraforming Engineers (i.e. DW's true winrate was massively inflated by Terraforming Engineers' winrate). I mean DW certainly got better in BoW, after long being the worst/2nd worst (TGS/RvI) homeworld, but certainly it's still crap given you've removed almost all the good BoW targets.

There's something I didn't address: although there aren't "strength" statistics available for that card, there are stats for how OFTEN a start world is selected when given a choice between two. Doomed World was selected more than any other, by a wide margin. These stats are available on the second page of my linked spreadsheet.

Quote:
There are 8 player colors (arc1:6, arc2:1, arc3:1). Don't know if that changes anything for your module selection randomization. Would be cool to also have a randomization method on whether to use goals.

Yep, it's just a convenient rule-of-thumb for when you can't decide whether or not to use whatever combination. Clearly this doesn't apply to Goals, but aside from the extreme caution taken when using Goals with this mix, I would recommend not playing Goals with the Orb at least, since the artifacts are meant to function like Goals.

Quote:
TBH i think all the modules break down in a cube like this (but that's not a bad thing per se). Orb cards are much rarer; Xeno Invasion is brutal enough already without a 40% reduction; prestige to use the prestige action would be very rare; takeovers would be very rare.

This is not a problem. There are only two cards that grant orb-specific abilities, and they're not vital to the functionality of the Orb.

Takeovers are less common, but cards that prevent takeovers aren't in the set, so they're not there just taking up space. Takeovers are not a core mechanic, but an occasional difficult-but-rewarding maneuver. Since the game can be played without takeovers, it should be just fine with takeovers potentially present.

I hated the Prestige mechanic, so I don't mind it being gutted. That said, there still are a few cards that may use Prestige for an additional ability. I think Casus Belli is the only one that requires prestige.

Xeno Invasion is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Luckily, generic military is just as useful, except for those specific Wave III cards I mentioned. In my experience playing with this set, reduction of Xeno-specific military has not been a problem, but just in case, I added the Xeno-Defense Search category. Maybe, additionally, we can modify the invasion deck somehow? Remove one or two of the (Military)+X attack cards, since those are the only problematic ones? Just a thought.

Quote:
I don't understand this disclaimer. Maybe your intention was "Military vs. Xenos powers do not count."?

However you want to word it. You can use the Search action to search for Xeno DEFENSE cards, but not Mil vs. Xeno cards.

Quote:
Do you have any of the major custom expansions, and have you seen the promo homeworlds? Patronage/Knowledge & Power/Fusion. Would be fun to see a super cube made of everything. I'd certainly throw it together, try a hundred plays with the Vancouver Race players, and report back.


I know nothing of any of those. I'll be sure to give them a look, thanks!


zabdiel wrote:
You've still got 3 cards that give 1 military per chromosome world (Uplift Mercenary Force, Rebel Uplift World & Uplift Coalition). Uplift Coalition is probably stronger than Uplift Revolt World - it's better (+1 explore) if you have one other chromosome world and worth one more VP for every chromosome world after that.

Yep, I noted that. Chromo-bonus cards are very tough to gauge. Luckily, the deck is so large that it's okay to have a couple such cards.

Quote:
What rules are you using for explore? Standard rules or arc 3 rules? With such a large deck it seems there would be an argument for using arc 3 mix & match but that makes any mix & match explore powers useless.

Oops, good catch; I forgot to state that. I'm using standard rules so that the Mix&Match abilities aren't worthless.

Quote:
This seems like a shame, I really like the AA start worlds, I'm not so keen on TGS & RvI by comparison. Did you consider modifying arc 2 & 3 military start worlds to non-military worlds to remove the takeover vulnerability? I seem to remember a discussion where Tom detailed what one of the AA start worlds would look like it it was in the base game (Frontier Capital I think) - I think the only change would have been making it a 2 cost non-military world (and removing one of the cheap devs which gives a dev discount for balance). I've wondered what the arc 1 start worlds would have looked like if takeovers hadn't been included.


Feel free to swap in/out any Start Worlds you see fit. Honestly, I don't think turn-1 takeover is such a big deal. It's very, VERY rare, and the bonus granted by your start world is helpful, but not critically necessary. For a turn-1 takeover to even happen, there would need to be at least a Develop phase and most likely also an Explore phase, so chances are you're going to get at least one use out of that start world anyway.
 
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kungfro wrote:
entranced wrote:
Do you have any of the major custom expansions, and have you seen the promo homeworlds? Patronage/Knowledge & Power/Fusion. Would be fun to see a super cube made of everything. I'd certainly throw it together, try a hundred plays with the Vancouver Race players, and report back.


I know nothing of any of those. I'll be sure to give them a look, thanks!

The promo start worlds haven't been released so you'll have trouble finding them. I think this is the only currently available info on them:

Tom Lehmann wrote:
The five new start worlds changed due to designing the New Worlds promo set of six new start worlds while testing Alien Artifacts. This promo set was given to Goko for a limited time to help promote their online version. We swapped several start worlds between the two sets to better balance each one.


The custom expansions are listed on http://racepics.tk/:

http://racepics.weihwa.com/custom.html
 
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kungfro wrote:
there simply aren't enough unique developments to go around, so there need to be some doubles.

Hmm nod. I suppose if i made a cube i'd target a smaller deck size and thus could pull off all 1-ofs. Never liked the large size of arc#1, too much shuffling. I don't think Race needs all that many cards to be interesting, especially without duplicate developments.

It only needs as many cards as necessary to sustain the number of players. The most compact deck size is TGS at 27.2 cards per player, so the perfect Race cube size is ~164 cards. Which oddly enough is the deck size of Arc 2 & 3, but they only support 5p.

kungfro wrote:
There's something I didn't address: although there aren't "strength" statistics available for that card, there are stats for how OFTEN a start world is selected when given a choice between two. Doomed World was selected more than any other, by a wide margin. These stats are available on the second page of my linked spreadsheet.

I'd seen that, but where did you get those Doomed World stats? If from the Keldon data, again, are you sure it's not counting a TF Engineers upgraded homeworld as "Doomed World"?

rftgstats has 123954 games without goals, yet you have homeworld data in your sheet for 238149 games. And there are 361303 games on rftgstats... It would appear your homeworld data is only for base game and games with goals? I have no idea. If yes, every BoW game with goals was used, and thus the Terraforming Engineers issue is skewing Doomed World's data.

kungfro wrote:
I would recommend not playing Goals with the Orb at least, since the artifacts are meant to function like Goals.

Ah yeah, probably with Invasion too, since the 2 tiles function like goals as well.

kungfro wrote:
I hated the Prestige mechanic, so I don't mind it being gutted. That said, there still are a few cards that may use Prestige for an additional ability. I think Casus Belli is the only one that requires prestige.

Thanks for letting us know you hated Prestige. This makes me think if i adopted your cube, i would maintain the PL mechanic, since you argue well for maintaining everything else. Other than Goals, which i suspect you don't like. Goals fit any deck makeup very well methinks, and would only require a bit of pruning attention.

If i made a cube i think i would go the opposite route and remove any module-related card. We already never play with takeovers and most of the takeover cards are easy cuts, goals aren't card-specific, prestige power creep would go away. That streamlines the rules, though i'd lose at least one key, fun, strategy-enabling card like Terraforming Engineers...

This brings up a potential problem with your cube. Aren't the Xeno and Anti-Xeno keywords far too diluted?

I've played every deck composition a lot at this point, even Fusion. I think it's probably time for me to make a cube and see how it plays. If i do, your post is going to be an excellent framework for me to start from. It's too bad all the data you're using is without goals though, which means i can't really use your data unless i want to forgo goals (not bloody likely! :)

kungfro wrote:
reduction of Xeno-specific military has not been a problem, but just in case, I added the Xeno-Defense Search category. Maybe, additionally, we can modify the invasion deck somehow? Remove one or two of the (Military)+X attack cards, since those are the only problematic ones? Just a thought.

Ah yeah. What i would probably do is not add a Search category, and simply remove the 3x +X attack cards from the Invasion deck.

kungfro wrote:
I know nothing of any of those. I'll be sure to give them a look, thanks!

The professional quality custom expansions are here.

kungfro wrote:
Feel free to swap in/out any Start Worlds you see fit.

I think start worlds are a great way to keep things fresh and are typically pretty balanced for any situation. I think how i would do it is at the start of a session(or every week? month?), shuffle up all homeworlds, and select a subset to be available for that session/week/month.

Tons of great ideas, thanks.
 
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entranced wrote:
A lot of the standout cards are gutted, so that, yes, this is very balanced, but it loses all the texture and flavor of what Tom came up with. I applaud the effort though. Never has there been a more balanced version of official Race, likely.
Not guaranteed - removing the most powerful cards could easily just introduce a different set of balance issues with what's left over

It's cool to see the amount of analysis that went into this though, and if I still played Race frequently I'd certainly give it a try. I thought I did a lot of number-crunching when developing my own custom expansion (Knowledge and Power), but nothing compared to this!
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Minor update with regards to the Xeno Invasion game. I crunched some numbers.

Not counting variable military (e.g. +X military for X chromosomes), the average static generic military bonus per card does not change significantly between Arc 3 and my Custom Mix: it increases by only 3%. Since Arc 3 doesn't have many (any?) variable military cards, I'd say the actual boost is slightly higher.

If you instead count the percentage of cards that offer either Xeno military or Xeno defense, or temporary military of some sort, the frequency drops from Arc 3 to my Custom Mix by 16%.

What I interpret this to means is that:
1. We don't need to modify Waves 1 or 2.
2. Wave 3 only needs to be mildly adjusted, and the percent removal of Military+X cards needs to be more significant than single-digit values.

So my solution to the Xeno Invasion deck strength is to remove four cards from Wave 3:
3, 8, 9, Military+5

This does three things in effect: it reduces the overall strength of the Wave 3 deck, proportionally removes a higher fraction of Military+X cards, which depend on the (reduced) frequency of Xeno/Temporary military, and keeps the Wave 3 size a prime number so that no wave, regardless of player number, has a fully deterministic set of cards.

I'll update my original post with this small modification.
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@ entranced:

The stats for start world removal are something I took from (I think?) the Keldon site long ago. I didn't bother to update them for this round, but I was also completely comfortable with Uplift Researchers taking the [8] spot.

I hated prestige, it's true: but I would have left the option in with full potential if it wasn't for the fact that half of the BoW cards are overpowered, and yet they're required to drive Prestige mechanic. I do also hate the goals but I didn't do anything to actively sabotage them: I only planned without regard for them by taking the "games without goals" stats.

If you wanted to try to re-jig these stats using goals, you could download my spreadsheet and enter in the with-goals numbers. I had to write a Python script to comb the page code though. Maybe it's not so easy.

On your other point, yeah in a similar way that I dislike Goals, I also feel uncomfortable about the inherent swinginess of the Xeno title cards. I generally don't like cards that result in significant VP swings. Luckily, Takeovers are difficult to pull off so I think they're somewhat justified.

W.r.t. Xeno frequency: I'm not worried about the percent of those keywords as much as I am the fraction of Xeno-specific military and defense, insofar that it affects the Invasion game. I've since crunched the numbers and have come up with a suggestion to prune the Wave III deck accordingly.

W.r.t. Search action: I've reversed my decision on the 10th search category that would include "Xeno defense cards." I don't think this option is necessary.
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Update: I finished and uploaded my rules for the Solo Invasion game.

Additionally, I decided that a Search action category for Xeno defense cards was unnecessary.

Lastly, though I did not imply otherwise, I want to clarify that players can use temporary military granted by alien artifact tokens to defend against Xeno invasions; but the Robot cannot.
 
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