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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: (Minor) fixes for a few races -- feedback wanted! rss

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PK Levine
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Our group has been mulling over how to tweak the races to make the game more fun. It's not so much that we want to enforce balance, more that certain races just seem to not get picked much. (In most cases, this is because they're seen as boring or overly weak, though with the Yssaril it's more that their player always feels picked on and singled out.)

So these fixes are intended to be minor -- no one is being rewritten from the ground up! -- and keeping in the spirit of what the race is supposed to be good at. We did draw some ideas from the "Great Race Fix Project," so thanks to whomever created that!

Please give us your thoughts and feedback!

* Brotherhood of Yin

1. When invading a planet, you may convert a Mechanized Unit instead of a Ground Force. If you're out of Mechanized Unit miniatures, their Mechanized Unit becomes your Ground Force.
2. Reversing a planet's resource and influence values is a free reaction, not an action. (This removes the ability to "stall," but adds much more flexibility.)
3. You also start with the tech Antimass Deflectors.

* Embers of Muatt

1. You may have up to three War Suns (take one from an unused color).
2. Your War Sun tech cannot be stolen by the Nekro Virus.
3. You may acquire Magmus Reactor (racial tech) for 3 Resources, but if you do, put a marker on it; it does not reduce the base cost of your War Suns. You may upgrade it to the full version later (removing the marker) as if buying it for 0 Resources.

* Sardakk N'Orr

1. Your +1 applies to all combat-related rolls, including PDS fire and pre-combat rolls.
2. Your PDS cost 1 Resource instead of 2.
3. Valkyrie Armor (racial tech) lets your casualties make a standard attack roll before dying.

* Xxcha Kingdom

1. Your opponents' -1 applies to all combat-related rolls, including PDS fire and pre-combat rolls.

* Yssaril Tribes

1. You can skip your turn without consequence, but only once per round.
2. Mageon Implants (racial tech) lets you swap one of your Action Cards for one of the opponent's (instead of stealing one).

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Scott Randolph
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Looks good so far! A lot depends on whether or not you (I also mean other folks reading this post) play with both expansions (SE & SotT) or not, and if your games tend to be 4 players, or generally 5+ players. The reason I say this is that the weaknesses of the Tier III (worst, bottom 3rd) Great Races are not nearly as obvious if a player gets 2 strategy cards per turn, and if you are playing with the base game only, the 1-8-1-8 SC principle will also trump, as in obscure, the glaring weaknesses of the Tier III Great Races (or "Not-So-Great" Races, as it were, lol).

We're still struggling with the Yin Brotherhood...2 of our top three players stubbornly attempt to win with them, and the Yin have 1 victory out of 8 plays in the last two years, 1 2nd place finish, all the others, last place or near to last place.

I'm floating the following idea: Yin Brotherhood racial special ability (text replaces existing), "As an action, once per game round, you may reverse the resource and influence values of any planet you control. Place a control marker on the planet card. If you perform this action on your Home System, you may immediately exhaust the planet and place up to 4 of your Destroyers there. You may not exceed your Fleet Supply when doing so."

My thinking, Yin HS has a 4 resource value (after being flipped), so 4 destroyers is in line with this, has natural limits such as Fleet Supply (if there is 1 non-fighter ship in the HS, this means the player could only place 3 max, a loss of 1 usable resource...so why have this? The destroyer units are not locked down, provides some tactical flexibility, but to make maximum use of this ability the player would have to plan ahead and move all non-fighter ships out of the HS on a prior turn (ie, I want to make sure this isn't O/P)...like I say, it's just an idea.

We've tried not to change starting techs (law of unintended consequences, we've done this before, and it changed things much more than we thought it would). We've also refrained from nerf'g the Tier I (best) Great Races just because we think they're really cool the way they are :-) {RE: Yssaril}

A big "+1" to your Muaat and N'Orr changes, makes them better, trust me, they're NOT O/P with your changes, they're not, EoS.

We've buffed the Xxcha a little more, to the point where people actually WANT to play them, and that's nice, still takes one of our top 4 players though to actually win with them.

...anyway, good work, keep at it!
 
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PK Levine
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SFRR wrote:
Looks good so far! A lot depends on whether or not you (I also mean other folks reading this post) play with both expansions (SE & SotT) or not, and if your games tend to be 4 players, or generally 5+ players. The reason I say this is that the weaknesses of the Tier III (worst, bottom 3rd) Great Races are not nearly as obvious if a player gets 2 strategy cards per turn, and if you are playing with the base game only, the 1-8-1-8 SC principle will also trump, as in obscure, the glaring weaknesses of the Tier III Great Races (or "Not-So-Great" Races, as it were, lol).


As is probably obvious from the discussion of racial techs, we use all expansions with the SE strategies (though not the full political rules). So "1/8/repeat" isn't an issue for us.

Quote:
I'm floating the following idea: Yin Brotherhood racial special ability (text replaces existing), "As an action, once per game round, you may reverse the resource and influence values of any planet you control. Place a control marker on the planet card. If you perform this action on your Home System, you may immediately exhaust the planet and place up to 4 of your Destroyers there. You may not exceed your Fleet Supply when doing so."


We felt that the only real drawback to Yin's ability is that other players can snipe you with Technology, etc., before you have a chance to use it. So making it no longer an action removes that drawback (and also keeps Yssaril's stalling ability more unique).

So unless I'm missing something, our change already does what you're trying to do. You would swap your HS values as a free action, activate the system, and build there -- not just "four destroyers," but whatever you feel like.

Quote:
We've tried not to change starting techs (law of unintended consequences, we've done this before, and it changed things much more than we thought it would).


Do you think it boosts the Yin too much to give them that extra tech? That was definitely a concern that we had. Would just the first two changes be enough?

Quote:
We've also refrained from nerf'g the Tier I (best) Great Races just because we think they're really cool the way they are :-) {RE: Yssaril}


Sure, but as I said, no one wants to play the Yssaril because everyone immediately starts picking on them. So in this case, filing down the monster's teeth is a way to bring them back into the game as a viable option. We really feel that, even with these changes, they're still very potent and powerful.

Quote:
A big "+1" to your Muaat and N'Orr changes, makes them better, trust me, they're NOT O/P with your changes, they're not, EoS.


Thanks!

Quote:
We've buffed the Xxcha a little more, to the point where people actually WANT to play them, and that's nice, still takes one of our top 4 players though to actually win with them.


Yeah, we were not unanimous about whether this fixed the Xxcha. Some of us wanted to add "In the first round of space or invasion combat, you may ignore one hit." Others felt that their only real weakness was a glaring need for command counters (since they go through them like water!) and so the race needed something like, "Receive 3 Command Counters instead of 2 each turn." And finally, some felt they were okay as-is with just this clarificatino.
 
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Scott Randolph
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pkitty wrote:
SFRR wrote:
I'm floating the following idea: Yin Brotherhood racial special ability (text replaces existing), "As an action, once per game round, you may reverse the resource and influence values of any planet you control. Place a control marker on the planet card. If you perform this action on your Home System, you may immediately exhaust the planet and place up to 4 of your Destroyers there. You may not exceed your Fleet Supply when doing so."


We felt that the only real drawback to Yin's ability is that other players can snipe you with Technology, etc., before you have a chance to use it. So making it no longer an action removes that drawback (and also keeps Yssaril's stalling ability more unique). So unless I'm missing something, our change already does what you're trying to do. You would swap your HS values as a free action, activate the system, and build there -- not just "four destroyers," but whatever you feel like. Do you think it boosts the Yin too much to give them that extra tech? That was definitely a concern that we had. Would just the first two changes be enough?

No, we want to make the Yin the "Destroyer-Race" so this proposed ability would only allow them to build Destroyers in their HS with this racial special ability. The issue we have found with the Yin is the loss of 2 resources; eg, other players execute their Strategy Card primary abilities before the Yin can flip their HS (and the Yin HS is only worth 2 resources vs 4, thus the loss of 2). SC#4 Production is more often the culprit than SC#7 Technology II (easier to get an SC #1-6 than SC# 1-3, to go before SC#4 Production). I doubt that giving the Yin Anti-Mass Deflectors would make the Yin O/P...but...it's just our preference, we try not to change starting techs.

pkitty wrote:
SFRR wrote:
We've buffed the Xxcha a little more, to the point where people actually WANT to play them, and that's nice, still takes one of our top 4 players though to actually win with them.


Yeah, we were not unanimous about whether this fixed the Xxcha. Some of us wanted to add "In the first round of space or invasion combat, you may ignore one hit." Others felt that their only real weakness was a glaring need for command counters (since they go through them like water!) and so the race needed something like, "Receive 3 Command Counters instead of 2 each turn." And finally, some felt they were okay as-is with just this clarification.

We went further with both the Xxcha and the N'Orr, and frankly, now they're both more like a decent Tier II Great Race...we play with the Great Race Fix Project changes {since we're the ones that wrote them ;-)}. I would avoid making the Xxcha like the Fed of Sol (extra CC per GR, you lose a bit of the "flavor" of each Great Race)...AND...we like it when players pick on the Yssaril
Anyway, good discussion!
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Scott Randolph
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In case anyone is interested in the Great Race Fix Project, here is the link:
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/129587/revisions-4-great-...
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Jeff S
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"* Sardakk N'Orr

1. Your +1 applies to all combat-related rolls, including PDS fire and pre-combat rolls."

This is already their ability, from the FAQ:
Combat Rolls
The term “combat roll” is inclusive. It covers any instance in which you roll a die and compare the result to a unit’s combat value to determine whether or not an enemy casualty has been inflicted. This includes PDS fire and all pre-combat abilities that are compared to a unit’s combat value.
• The Sardakk N’Orr special ability text should read: “You receive +1 on your combat rolls.”
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Lou Lessing
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pkitty wrote:
Our group has been mulling over how to tweak the races to make the game more fun. It's not so much that we want to enforce balance, more that certain races just seem to not get picked much. (In most cases, this is because they're seen as boring or overly weak, though with the Yssaril it's more that their player always feels picked on and singled out.)

So these fixes are intended to be minor -- no one is being rewritten from the ground up! -- and keeping in the spirit of what the race is supposed to be good at. We did draw some ideas from the "Great Race Fix Project," so thanks to whomever created that!

Please give us your thoughts and feedback!

* Brotherhood of Yin

1. When invading a planet, you may convert a Mechanized Unit instead of a Ground Force. If you're out of Mechanized Unit miniatures, their Mechanized Unit becomes your Ground Force.
2. Reversing a planet's resource and influence values is a free reaction, not an action. (This removes the ability to "stall," but adds much more flexibility.)
3. You also start with the tech Antimass Deflectors.

* Embers of Muatt

1. You may have up to three War Suns (take one from an unused color).
2. Your War Sun tech cannot be stolen by the Nekro Virus.
3. You may acquire Magmus Reactor (racial tech) for 3 Resources, but if you do, put a marker on it; it does not reduce the base cost of your War Suns. You may upgrade it to the full version later (removing the marker) as if buying it for 0 Resources.

* Sardakk N'Orr

1. Your +1 applies to all combat-related rolls, including PDS fire and pre-combat rolls.
2. Your PDS cost 1 Resource instead of 2.
3. Valkyrie Armor (racial tech) lets your casualties make a standard attack roll before dying.

* Xxcha Kingdom

1. Your opponents' -1 applies to all combat-related rolls, including PDS fire and pre-combat rolls.

* Yssaril Tribes

1. You can skip your turn without consequence, but only once per round.
2. Mageon Implants (racial tech) lets you swap one of your Action Cards for one of the opponent's (instead of stealing one).



Yin:
1. Definitely like making this ability work on MU.
2. Stalling is a lot of this ability's power later in the game. Not sure I'd nerf it like this.
3. Might not be necessary, but sure, why not.

Muatt:
1. I like giving Muatt a third War Sun.
2. I definitely would not do this. Nekro Virus does not need nerfs, especially nerfs to one of their few most exciting possibilities.
3. This is super complicated for what it's doing. I'm not even totally sure what it is doing.

Sardakk N'Orr:
1. AFAIK it already works on PDS rolls and pre-combat rolls.
2. This seems like a reasonable, if very small, buff.
3. I like this a lot. That makes Valkyrie Armor worth researching. Would it be in addition to or instead of the current effect?

Xxcha:
1. I'm not as certain that this already works like this as I am for Sardakk N'Orr's ability, but I think it already does. Are you talking about letting it apply on combat rounds after the first, as well?

Yssaril Tribes
1. This might be necessary, but it seems like a lot to go from unlimited stall actions (which was definitely broken) to a single stall action (which is relatively common.) I might let them use it twice.
2. This is a good change. It doesn't make the ability that much weaker, if Yssaril just wants to steal cards with it, they usually have plenty of weak cards to trade with. But, it opens up a bunch of cool card-trading possibilities. It makes it feel much less crappy to be on the receiving end of the ability. It means that Yssaril being in the game doesn't mean fewer action cards for everybody else.
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PK Levine
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brisingre wrote:

Yin:
1. Definitely like making this ability work on MU.
2. Stalling is a lot of this ability's power later in the game. Not sure I'd nerf it like this.
3. Might not be necessary, but sure, why not.


Re #2, okay, so what about a straight improvement? "You may reverse a planet's Resources and Influence either as an action or as a free reaction." That's a pretty potent change, so I'm not sure if they still need the free tech (#3) to balance them out.

Quote:
Muatt:
1. I like giving Muatt a third War Sun.
2. I definitely would not do this. Nekro Virus does not need nerfs, especially nerfs to one of their few most exciting possibilities.
3. This is super complicated for what it's doing. I'm not even totally sure what it is doing.


Re #2: I see what you mean, but it also sucks for Muatt to lose their only real advantage early in the game to Nekro. Basically, people already don't like Muatt, but they absolutely won't play them at all if Nekro is in the game because why bother? Nekro will just attack them once and now Nekro is like Muatt but better.

(Do you consider Nekro weak? We always found them rather potent.)

Re #3: Yeah, sorry, it seemed simpler in my head. Basically, no one cares about the "War Sun cost is reduced" part of that tech because it never comes up, so that was a really complicated way to compromise between a new version and existing version. Screw that, it'd be simpler as:

3. Magmus Reactor (racial tech) costs 3 Resources but does not reduce the base cost of your War Suns.

Quote:
Sardakk N'Orr:
1. AFAIK it already works on PDS rolls and pre-combat rolls.
2. This seems like a reasonable, if very small, buff.
3. I like this a lot. That makes Valkyrie Armor worth researching. Would it be in addition to or instead of the current effect?


Re #1: True. This is more of a clarification than anything.

Re #2: I was considering another small buff from the Great Race Fix, of letting them have 3 PDS on a planet instead of 2. Do you think that's needed?

Re #3: Instead of. In nearly all cases, that's a significant improvement over "roll a 10."

Quote:
Xxcha:
1. I'm not as certain that this already works like this as I am for Sardakk N'Orr's ability, but I think it already does. Are you talking about letting it apply on combat rounds after the first, as well?


No, you're right, this is just a clarification. But I think Xxcha need a little bit more of a bump. I may just steal the Great Race Fix's "You can ignore 1 hit from pre-combat abilities or in the first round of combat" addition.

Quote:
Yssaril Tribes
1. This might be necessary, but it seems like a lot to go from unlimited stall actions (which was definitely broken) to a single stall action (which is relatively common.) I might let them use it twice.
2. This is a good change. It doesn't make the ability that much weaker, if Yssaril just wants to steal cards with it, they usually have plenty of weak cards to trade with. But, it opens up a bunch of cool card-trading possibilities. It makes it feel much less crappy to be on the receiving end of the ability. It means that Yssaril being in the game doesn't mean fewer action cards for everybody else.


Re #1: Yes, it's a huge nerf, but that's because everything else Yssaril has is wonderful. They start with a great fleet, good planet, good tech, and two of the most powerful special abilities in the game. So I'm okay with drastically nerfing this one ability, as they retain their "Master of Action Cards" standing regardless.
 
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Lou Lessing
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Yin:
I like the version that's a straight improvement. I agree they don't need the free tech as well.

Muatt:
Yeah, I've always found Necro Virus super weak. Theoretically they've got a lot of potential, but I've never really seen them do anything but get squished by their immediate neighbors at the very beginning of the game. They're much different from every other race though, so I'd believe that somebody who's played them more than once might do better. Muatt's not great either, and having Virus steal your starting War Sun tech feels pretty bad. Telling the Virus they can't steal it feels bad for the Virus, and I have the opposite problem where nobody ever wants to play Virus, so...

Definitely like the simpler Magmus Reactor.

Sardakk N'Orr:

3 PDS seems reasonable. Instead of is definitely the better way to do Valkyrie Armor.

Xxcha:

I agree they need a little buff.

Yssaril:

Fair enough. They're still pretty good even with that nerf.
 
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Scott Randolph
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brisingre wrote:

Yeah, I've always found Necro Virus super weak. Theoretically they've got a lot of potential, but I've never really seen them do anything but get squished by their immediate neighbors at the very beginning of the game. They're much different from every other race though, so I'd believe that somebody who's played them more than once might do better. Muatt's not great either, and having Virus steal your starting War Sun tech feels pretty bad. Telling the Virus they can't steal it feels bad for the Virus, and I have the opposite problem where nobody ever wants to play Virus, so...


We're eventually going to fix the Nekro Virus, what slows us down is one of our group's guiding principles, no more than 1-2 changes per game, play 2 games, then 1-2 more changes. In a sense I've been saving some of them up. We finally got around to nerf'g Gen Synth, something we've wanted to do for a long time, but had to wait for other changes "already in the queue." I believe our next game is our 86th (?).

Anyway, Nekro Virus - "Racial special ability: when you execute the secondary ability of the Technology Strategy Card, you receive 4 Command Counters instead of a technology advance" (executing secondary from Tech SC obviously still requires spending 1 CC from SA, and 6 Resources, so the net gain is 3 CC's for 6 Resources, vs 6 Influence). We're not really improving the Nekro, we feel we're actually just making the "balance sheet" in terms of cost for CC's (we play with the SE SC#1 Leadership, CC's cost 2 Influence, not 3) what it should have been all along for them.

In our group they've only ever won one game, no one ever wants to play them, they suck. They've always been a Tier III (worst) Great Race for us.

Another change we're considering for the Nekro Virus - "Racial special ability: During the Status Phase if you control three different planets with three different technology specialties, you may exhaust these planets plus 2 trade goods to receive any technology advance you wish"

The thought process behind this is: avg resource value per planet is 2, with 3 planets + 2 TG's the cost is approx 8 Resources which is in line with L1Z1X Inheritance Systems and Jol-Nar's 3rd tech when executing 2nd'ry/primary of Tech SC (Tech II). It still isn't easy, Nekro player has to control 3 tech specialty planets and have 2 TG's on-hand, AND, the cost could be greater than 8 resources (or occasionally less).

Anyway, at this point it's just an idea we've been discussing.
 
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PK Levine
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Re: Nekro

It might be simpler, and a very slight buff, to instead say that Nekro can execute secondary Technology without spending a CC/SA. That works out to the same net effect (+3 CC for 6R), but also means that they don't have to worry about keeping CC/SA handy in case someone sits on Technology.

I agree that Nekro gets shafted when it comes to tech specialty planets. But I don't like adding another complicated thing to keep in mind during the Strategy phase. What about, "Any of your planets with a technology specialization have an effective +1 to their Resources and* Influence for as long as you control them"? That's much simpler and appropriately potent.

* Though maybe "or" would be more fair.

Personally, I think the only real downside of playing Nekro is losing out on the ability to vote. So regardless of the changes above, I think it might be nice to give them something (probably a Trade Good) every time there's a vote. Maybe also let them execute Assembly (a/b) as "Claim the Speaker token and then reveal a Political Card from the deck for the others to vote on," so they have more of an incentive to choose Assembly. (Or maybe just one or the other?)
 
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Scott Randolph
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pkitty wrote:
It might be simpler, and a very slight buff, to instead say that Nekro can execute secondary Technology without spending a CC/SA. That works out to the same net effect (+3 CC for 6R), but also means that they don't have to worry about keeping CC/SA handy in case someone sits on Technology.


This is good, unfortunately it's very nearly identical to one of The Winnu's racial special abilities

pkitty wrote:
I agree that Nekro gets shafted when it comes to tech specialty planets. But I don't like adding another complicated thing to keep in mind during the Strategy phase. What about, "Any of your planets with a technology specialization have an effective +1 to their Resources and* Influence for as long as you control them"? That's much simpler and appropriately potent.

* Though maybe "or" would be more fair.


I'd go with "OR", but this is good also

pkitty wrote:
Personally, I think the only real downside of playing Nekro is losing out on the ability to vote. So regardless of the changes above, I think it might be nice to give them something (probably a Trade Good) every time there's a vote. Maybe also let them execute Assembly (a/b) as "Claim the Speaker token and then reveal a Political Card from the deck for the others to vote on," so they have more of an incentive to choose Assembly. (Or maybe just one or the other?)


The free TG, I'd be ok with that, I like the fact that they are a "Non-Political" Great Race, it's part of their bacterial "flavor" ;-)
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