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Xia: Legends of a Drift System» Forums » Variants

Subject: Cargo Trolling solutions? rss

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Randy D

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Played my first game of this last week and it was a lot of fun. Before playing I read about the potential for the cargo run abuse if the Buy/Sell planets of a certain cargo happen to be close to each other (the player can then just keep ferrying cargo back & forth on their turns, earning FPs hand over fist). Not sure what the term for this is, but for the sake of this posting, I will refer to it as "Cargo Trolling" (winning by taking advantage of a game flaw or loophole rather than by playing in the spirit of the game). Anticipating this, I printed out the Economy Board from the expansion--not only did it provide an elegant simulation of a fluid economy, it also seemed to prevent Cargo Trolling. However, in our game the Lower Stratus nebula appeared right next to Lunari such that it was 6 spaces from where the player could harvest Plasma and then sell it on Lunari. This player had the Energy Scoop ability and so always had energy on hand. Since the harvested Plasma doesn't come off the Economy Board, they had an unlimited supply and easily took the victory.

The Economy Board helps to mitigate Cargo Trolling when a specific cargo's Buy/Sell planets happen to be very close, but how can Cargo Trolling be mitigated when a cargo's nebula & planet are this close?

I saw someone mentioned in these forums a variant where a random cube is placed on a planet's Sell space once cargo is sold there to denote a different type that is now sold there. Is this variant a nice alternative to the Economy Board or are there other suggestions?
 
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Team Ski
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It is what we do. Whenever anybody sells cubes, we randomly draw another cube.

-Ski
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Kaylee H
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My games of Xia had the same issue and one of my buddies named himself "The Humble Holo Farmer" because all he did was harvest Holo cubes from the nebula and Sell it at the planet next door.

Something that I have done for my game is create more sectors. If you're up for the challenge and have Adobe software on your computer, the website for Xia has all of the templates for modding and creating more of whatever you want your game to have. There are also PDFs and JPEGs of fan made sectors in the file section of Xia's BGG page. I have made a lot of sectors for my game and they have seemed to really help separate and give distance for this issue.
 
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Randy D

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Kaylee,

Thanks for the advice. I do have Photoshop and am aware of the templates, however, how do I print them in such a way as to match the existing sector tiles from the game so it is not obvious that the homemade ones are the next ones to be drawn while playing the game? If this cannot be done, I might just simply consider creating a deck of Sector Tile cards that are shuffled and drawn and the corresponding Sector Tile is then drawn and placed. On a side note, I am also considering drawing Explore Tokens from a bag so I can maybe customize a few of my own using the blank tokens that came in the base game. To make this work, I would still need to use some sort of marker to denote an Explore token space that has not been explored yet.

Also, while I do enjoy expanding and pimping out my games, I also take pause in including fan-made items without first knowing they have been tested so they don't introduce other game-breaking issues. For example, the game was tested with the number of sector tiles it currently has. If I change that number by increasing it, how might certain missions be affected since it could now take longer for a needed sector to show up, thus making those missions a little harder to complete. And that is not taking into account what is actually on those new fan-made sectors, which itself might not have been fully tested either and could provide an overly powerful benefit when combined with a certain ship Ability.

Having said all that, what new sector tiles have you added to your game and found to be a fun addition and how did you print them to match the existing sector tiles?
 
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Jacob Williams
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A great way to expand the system in order to break up cargo trolling is to just use the blank tiles from the Dev Kit. I actual just like have more blank tiles to make the game more challenging.
 
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Y P
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Our house rule: whenever you sell a goods you place a cube of that type on your player board as an indicator of the last goods type you sold. You then have to sell a different goods type before you can go back to the 1st one.
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Derek Dyer
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Quote:
Not sure what the term for this is, but for the sake of this posting, I will refer to it as "Cargo Trolling" (winning by taking advantage of a game flaw or loophole rather than by playing in the spirit of the game).
This is a problem. If someone has done this, then the other players *allowed* it to happen. Why? Go and stop them. Even in a 3 player game this is easily preventable (easier with more players).

Also keep in mind that you can easily check when placing a tile if it creates a "neighbor trade". The same works when placing Mine/Harvest/Salvage tiles as well.

Quote:
This player had the Energy Scoop ability and so always had energy on hand.
You can not use Energy Scoop when you are stranded. Did you play this wrong?
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Derek Dyer
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Our house rule: whenever you sell a goods you place a cube of that type on your player board as an indicator of the last goods type you sold. You then have to sell a different goods type before you can go back to the 1st one.
If you absolutely need to make a houserule on this, this one is a decent one. When you change the Buy/Sell (or heaven forbid both) spaces on the board you fundamentally change the way the game is played. You are not simply "fixing" something, you are playing a different game. The result is highly variable on merchant strategies of playing the game. Highly variable meaning that some games [random chance] will make merchant strategies *unplayable*. That is seriously unfun. You're always going to have people that gravitate to certain playstyles, and when they're all valid in the game, but you change the game to make some playstyles invalid, that is not "fixing" the game.
 
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Kaylee H
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As for printing, if I am understanding you correctly, I printed the sectors and sector backs out on paper and glued them to some thick cardboard that was from the back of a sketchbook or water color pad (the thickness is pretty close, if not the same, to the tile thickness). I used mod podge to glue it down and give it a clear layer on top to finish it off. The only way to tell if a homemade sector is coming up is if you're looking at the sides of the tiles as they are stacked; however, your sector tile card idea does sound good if you want it to be a complete surprise.

As for sectors that I have created, I have made 5 so far and my game group and I are still testing and modifying rules:

1. The Alien Sector- Acts as a neutral planet with a 2xD6 Cargo Cube Buy Space (1-5 is a certain cargo cube, 6 is players choice) I created an Alien NPC who spawns in this sector and Teleports to a new sector every round to wreak a little bit of havoc.

2. The Wrecking Site- This one looks like a dead planet from the expansion (so no planetary shields), and I made it into a junk yard that wrecked ships get dumped on. I have added a space that allows you to "Scavenge" and collect tokens to spend in the business phase for cargo or outfits. Additionally, when a player dies, tokens equal to the tier of the ship get "jetisoned" on that space for anyone to pick up.

3. Anulum- This is a lawful planet surrounded by a ring of asteroids (like Saturn)and I made a Community Service space that allows you to do a mission with no pay to get rid of 1,000 credits worth of bounty.

4. The Black Market- This is an Outlaw Planet with a space to trade any cargo cubes for any in the box. There is another space that allows the player to reroll the payment results for a mission. Also there is a moon that revolves around this planet in the same way a comet would in the expansion. On the moon are 2 trading docks where players can meet to make deals and trades outside of the game rules.

5. Creatura- This is a dead planet inside of a nebula that is infested with Space Slugs that cling to your ship upon entry and make rearming at a cost of 2 energy instead of one until you enter an active planet with a planetary shield. There is a space on that planet that lets you trade your ship ability with any other of the same tier even if another player has it.
 
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Randy D

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ChromiumAgeCollector wrote:
A great way to expand the system in order to break up cargo trolling is to just use the blank tiles from the Dev Kit. I actual just like have more blank tiles to make the game more challenging.

I would like this option, however, where can I get my hands on a dev kit? They are not being sold by Far Off Games (I emailed them a few weeks ago and have not heard back), nor are they available on the BGG store.
 
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Jacob Williams
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randyd42 wrote:
ChromiumAgeCollector wrote:
A great way to expand the system in order to break up cargo trolling is to just use the blank tiles from the Dev Kit. I actual just like have more blank tiles to make the game more challenging.

I would like this option, however, where can I get my hands on a dev kit? They are not being sold by Far Off Games (I emailed them a few weeks ago and have not heard back), nor are they available on the BGG store.


Good news! He posted on social media the other day a pic of him shipping a metric butt ton of them to BGG.
 
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Tom
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I would recommend the the economy board from the Print & Play of the Expansion Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star
 
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Doug DeMoss
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Calinor wrote:
Quote:
Our house rule: whenever you sell a goods you place a cube of that type on your player board as an indicator of the last goods type you sold. You then have to sell a different goods type before you can go back to the 1st one.
If you absolutely need to make a houserule on this, this one is a decent one. When you change the Buy/Sell (or heaven forbid both) spaces on the board you fundamentally change the way the game is played. You are not simply "fixing" something, you are playing a different game. The result is highly variable on merchant strategies of playing the game. Highly variable meaning that some games [random chance] will make merchant strategies *unplayable*. That is seriously unfun. You're always going to have people that gravitate to certain playstyles, and when they're all valid in the game, but you change the game to make some playstyles invalid, that is not "fixing" the game.


I would argue that the heart of the game is adapting to what the system gives you. If merchant strategies aren't going to work, GO DO SOMETHING ELSE.
 
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Derek Dyer
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I would argue that the heart of the game is adapting to what the system gives you. If merchant strategies aren't going to work, GO DO SOMETHING ELSE.
Despite the rude way you presented your argument, I would mostly agree with you. Here's the thing though, variable buy spaces are NOT what THE SYSTEM GAVE US. <--- That's a joke (sort of)

What I don't like is joining people to play a game, and then finding out that their houserules have arbitrarily changed the way the game is played. This can get really bad when the houserules are designed to specifically favor certain styles of play.

Variable Buy Spaces isn't the worst fix I've ever heard of for this problem, and if your entire group prefers it that way, then have fun playing it that way. For the longest time I had no problem with the rule, but the more I've analysed it from a game theory perspective the less and less I like it.

Adopting that rule because you think it's a good fix, or it makes sense that supply and demand would change is one thing... but lets look at that rule in the harshest light. What if someone owns the game and hates merchant strategies because they think its boring. That opinion is fine, and they don't have to play the game that way. However if they then adopt this houserule to limit those strategies, they aren't losing anything because they didn't want to play the game that way, but the other players are having their options limited.

*That's* what I can't deal with. A person that changes a game forcing other people to play the way that person wants the game to be played.

That's probably not the case with most groups that use Variable Buy or Sell Spaces, but when I see the houserule get suggested to new players I feel that it's very easy for it to look like a solution to a problem. I do not feel that it is, it's a change, and it comes with it's own problems.
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Jacob Williams
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Calinor wrote:
Quote:
I would argue that the heart of the game is adapting to what the system gives you. If merchant strategies aren't going to work, GO DO SOMETHING ELSE.
Despite the rude way you presented your argument, I would mostly agree with you. Here's the thing though, variable buy spaces are NOT what THE SYSTEM GAVE US. <--- That's a joke (sort of)

What I don't like is joining people to play a game, and then finding out that their houserules have arbitrarily changed the way the game is played. This can get really bad when the houserules are designed to specifically favor certain styles of play.

Variable Buy Spaces isn't the worst fix I've ever heard of for this problem, and if your entire group prefers it that way, then have fun playing it that way. For the longest time I had no problem with the rule, but the more I've analysed it from a game theory perspective the less and less I like it.

Adopting that rule because you think it's a good fix, or it makes sense that supply and demand would change is one thing... but lets look at that rule in the harshest light. What if someone owns the game and hates merchant strategies because they think its boring. That opinion is fine, and they don't have to play the game that way. However if they then adopt this houserule to limit those strategies, they aren't losing anything because they didn't want to play the game that way, but the other players are having their options limited.

*That's* what I can't deal with. A person that changes a game forcing other people to play the way that person wants the game to be played.

That's probably not the case with most groups that use Variable Buy or Sell Spaces, but when I see the houserule get suggested to new players I feel that it's very easy for it to look like a solution to a problem. I do not feel that it is, it's a change, and it comes with it's own problems.


I am genuinely interested in your answer, so please don't misconstrue this as doucheyness. What game design theory is making you hate the variable demand variants? I have used them and love them, but I would really like to dive into a more thorough analysis as to why they are inferior to the econ board.
 
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Doug DeMoss
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Calinor wrote:


What I don't like is joining people to play a game, and then finding out that their houserules have arbitrarily changed the way the game is played. This can get really bad when the houserules are designed to specifically favor certain styles of play.


Agree completely. House rules should NEVER be sprung mid-game. If that happened to me, my response would be, "I'm done. I thought we were playing Xia, not Merchants of Venus. See you later."

Seriously, though, my main point is that no house rule is NEEDED. A get-rich-quick opportunity comes up? Take it! Or blow up whoever else tries, if you prefer (you probably need an appropriate special to make it work reliably enough, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility). One of the things I really like about this game is that there's usually more than one solution to a problem.

 
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Jeremy Scranton
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MentatYP wrote:
Our house rule: whenever you sell a goods you place a cube of that type on your player board as an indicator of the last goods type you sold. You then have to sell a different goods type before you can go back to the 1st one.


This is the solution that we implemented. A player can keep selling to the same location but they only get fame points the first time. They would have to sell somewhere else to gain fame points at that first location again. It's always worked very well for us.
 
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We have basically just adopted the rule that the first time you sell cubes you get a fame point. After that you don't anymore. Simple but effective.

It doesn't stop people trading as trading is a viable tactic to earn cash to quickly upgrade with the right system draws.

So far so good.

I hate house ruling but we found that trading could be exploited very early and it can be hard to actually attack and destroy someone - even when ganging up. Bad dice rolls might mean that your turn is wasted and they still do their less luck dependant trade route strategy.
 
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Liam
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Moved from General to Variants.
 
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Dork Angel
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I’ve been debating on once you sell all the cubes available they’re gone and the only way to get more is to harvest them (which puts the harvested cubes back into circulation).

Don’t have the same issue with harvesting as buy/sell as there’s always a die roll involved making them more risky.
 
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