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Space Empires: 4X» Forums » Variants

Subject: Maintenance Cost +1? rss

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Michael Powers
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I picked up a SE4x board from the GMT shop at WBC, and then acquires SE4X Close Encounters, giving us a nearly-full set that we've played on quite a bit.

We have an eye toward playing with Talon, but the fleets of over a dozen SC or DDs or even fleets of 6 or more CAs are giving me pause.

So we played a couple of games of where each warship's maintenance cost was increased by one. It felt great.

I wanted to get the opinions of people who have explored the design space more thoroughly as to the negative consequences of this. Sure it nerfs the scout rush, but anything else we should look out for?

Thanks in advance.
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Paul OConnor
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You are essentially creating a new game, which is fine because Jim Krohn intended for people to do this sort of thing all the time.

Answering your question more directly, your change favors larger ships and quality over quantity. For example, it generally takes 2 BC to force a BB to retreat in the regular rules that is a maintenance cost of 4 vs 3 which is acceptable. In your version that is a maintenance cost of 6 vs 4 which is still acceptable but makes the BB a somewhat better choice than it is in the rules as written.

A fully equipped Carrier is going to have a maintenance cost of 8, which pretty much ensures that it will never be built. You are also going to encourage building Mines and Decoys, which have no maintenance cost. Or did you change that too?

Fleets in general are going to be smaller and your games are going to be more subject to random die roll quirks because there are fewer ships to absorb a situation where one player rolls a "1" four times in a row. Because you won't be able to afford a lot of scouts, your fleets are going to hit more than their fair share of surprises when they encounter each other.

I find this discussion refreshing because far too many fans of the game complain that maintenance costs are too high. They want lots more ships on the map so they can smash ever larger fleets against each other. The problem with that approach is that it removes a lot of the subtleties of not having enough ships to do everything you want, which is a far more interesting challenge.

You might want to download the Space Empires Players Handbook from BGG's Close Encounters page for a more thorough discussion of how the game is built and how the different elements of the game combine to create the overall experience.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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I agree with Paul's assessment.

Quote:
Fleets in general are going to be smaller and your games are going to be more subject to random die roll quirks because there are fewer ships to absorb a situation where one player rolls a "1" four times in a row. Because you won't be able to afford a lot of scouts, your fleets are going to hit more than their fair share of surprises when they encounter each other.


It will definitely make it easier to play the battles out with Talon, which is your goal. If you want to just make the fleets smaller without altering the dynamics of the game as much, then just add 20% to the cost of each ship.

Quote:
I find this discussion refreshing because far too many fans of the game complain that maintenance costs are too high. They want lots more ships on the map so they can smash ever larger fleets against each other. The problem with that approach is that it removes a lot of the subtleties of not having enough ships to do everything you want, which is a far more interesting challenge.


Thank you for mentioning that. That is something that people do not always realize when they first play the game. A simple example is scouting. When fleet becomes really large, scouting often becomes a bit of a no brainer - toss a scout into your opponent's ships and find out what they are. When the fleets are smaller, the decision of whether to do that is much more interesting and agonizing.

The maintenance costs are also one of a number of things that is meant to punish the turtle player. Ships that are built are meant to be used. The one who builds a big fleet to turtle is basically strangling his own economy.
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