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Steve
Thailand
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I'm actually playtesting now my integrated variant, Imperium IV -- Mainstays of the Fleet.

If anyone is interested in playtesting it with me, send me a PM.

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My thought is to about double the incomes and to make you pay each turn maintenance of 1 RU or $1 per unit [troops, PDM, and all starships, not OP or Worlds].

Both players start with 22 units. So, this will eat up most of the increase if I simply double all the incomes [from any source]. Or I could adjust the Imp. income from his budget to $20 and the Terran Income from his Worlds to $15 each. This leaves the Terrans with $26 and the Imp. with $24 left after they spend $22 on their units. [Note that the Terrans will get $6 more next turn after they place their 3 OP.

This does make you pay for troop units and PDM, but why should they be free?
This does make M#=1 ships expensive to maintain.
I also need to make OP cost $6 instead of $4.
I propose to reduce the cost of Civilized Maint. to M#-1, not M#. This would also apply to M at OP that you want to pay for. This means that ships that you use Civil. M. for do not make you pay any more than you did before, but that ships that you roll for all cost you $1 anyway.

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This is the rule as it stands now.

E] Income – because of the bigger ships and the more expensive Maint. Players will want more income.
. . . 1] The 1st Ed. rules are in effect, so all Imp. income increases from requesting them from the Emperor are permanent.
. . . 2] All incomes are 'doubled' ==> OP are $2, Imp. World are $2, Terran Worlds are $14 & the starting Imp. budget is $18. Other increases are also doubled, like from begging the Emperor.
. . . 3] During each Peace and the following War, the income of Terran Worlds are +$4 more. Cumulative.
. . . 4] Imperial Worlds are increased +$2 more. Both player's Worlds all have the same income no matter how 'new'.
. . . 5] Optionally, Imp. Worlds start with income of $4 each turn, but their budget starts at $6, not $18.

F] Maintenance – This rule makes you pay a lot more for Maint., especially for the M#=1; so I about doubled the incomes.
. . . 1] You must also pay $1 per unit (incl. troops, PDM & spaceships; not Worlds or OP), no matter where they are located. These 2 rules make you pay $1 for a SC at a World, the same as before, but now you would have to pay it at an OP anyway. You must pay for troops, PDM, AO and TR. You may not pay and so Disrupt all other spaceships.
. . . 2] In addition to the above, the old Maint. rules are mostly still used.
. . . . Civilized Maint. at a world costs 'Maint. # -1'.
. . . 3] Frontier Maint. at an OP is roll as before. So, you need ≥ M# to be OK. If you don't pay or roll good the ship is Disrpt.
. . . 4] Frontier Maint. not at a friendly OP is you roll as you did before. You need > M# to be OK.
. . . 5] You must pay to be un-disrupted at a World, the cost is M#+1. At an OP you must roll >M#. Roll >M#+1, if it's not at an OP.
. . . 6] When in “deep space” a ship will/may carry the required RU to pay $1 through the end of the journey. Load it at start.
. . . 7] Moving while disrupted requires a roll of ≥ ½ the M#, round up. But, this roll lets you move 3 jumps, and then you can roll again.

The main changes are: disrupted ships are easier to move, Civil. M. is cheaper, and you pay for all units.
 
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Steve
Thailand
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I would justify this rule with the following thoughts --

1] Fighters and Strike craft are notorious for their high maintenance costs compared to their cost to build.

2] The combat system currently greatly favors small ships. Making the smallest ships cost a lot to maintain makes them much less desirable. DD are sort of in the middle.

3] While I have made Capital Ships have 3 "steps" and large Cruisers 2 steps before they are destroyed, I don't think this is enough to overcome to advantages that small ships have.

These rules make incomes grow faster so you can buy larger ships and they are better than originally without being expensive to maintain.

Note: I make you pay for troops and PDM because they have no current effect for being Disrupted, so I don't let you not pay & Disrupt them.
.

Note: I make you pay for AO and TR because it almost doesn't matter if they are Disrupted or not. If a Disrupted TR was limited to 1 cargo per turn then I would let you choose to not pay for them. This would be at least some handicap.
 
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