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Subject: Advancements Improve Shields Or Weapons rss

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Zenjoy
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A mod suggested by Guðmundur Skallagrímson (guthmundur) in one of my other mod threads (see here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1840152/alternate-trade-agr...) which personally I think is too good to NOT be implemented.

I take no credit for this. I simply want to promote his excellent idea, and clarify my own feelings of why I think it is soo worthwhile for people to use.

Straight up the mod is this:

You may NOT spend Research Tokens from your Supply to improve your shields or Weapons. These may ONLY be used for bidding on turn order or to build Research Nodes.

In exchange, whenever a Advancement Project is completed, do NOT return the Research Tokens on the Advancement to the supply; rather leave them on the card. During the Upkeep phase, you may spend tokens from COMPLETED Advancements to improve your Shields or Weapons.



All in all, yes - this mod serves as a handicapping system to what exists. Power gamers are likely going to hate it. HOWEVER, players who enjoy theme will likely ADORE this change.

Let me explain why I personally love this.

First of all, it MAKES players develop their advancements. The base game really doesn't encourage that at all (since Advancements won't win you games - while better Shields and Weapons will improve your chances of a Domination Victory). This was disappointing for me as the lack of advancements really reduced the 'personality' of the factions. Promoting these Advancements really adds to the overall uniqueness of each force.

Second, it makes early game Hazards ACTUALLY Hazardous. Being allowed to upgrade your shields on turn one to become immune to level 6 Hazards drops some of the threat of those systems. Do it again and the same applies to Hazard 5 systems AND you are immune to any rival who hasn't developed their weapons (unless they are Klingons).

Third, it doesn't require any change to game components. This can be done with the game as it stands. You MAY need extra Research Tokens but - given that its likely you'll be spending them as Advancements complete - I don't see this happening often.

Fourth, it means that Advancements will be developed EVEN into the mid-late game. This became a somewhat pointless move without this mod as (unless you were a Romulan) projects started in the mid game were essentially pointless come the late game. This mod however keeps you developing those Advancements purely for the basis of breakthroughs to be better equipped for the final-game wars.

Fifth, it does create a "SENSE" of a tech tree:
- Developing Cloaked Orbital Mines (3) and Romulan Disruptors (3) led to Level 1 Shields (6-tokens).
- The Klingon's Mass Fire Tactics (4) also improved their level 1 weapons (4-tokens).
- The Federation's combined developments of Advanced Stellar Cartography (3), The Cochrane institute (3), the Class 4 Replicators (4), and Long Range Sensors (4), accumulated in a developing their shields to level 2 (14-tokens).
It makes you feel that the advancements aren't purely an end-result, but rather a means to a bigger picture that you put together over the duration of a game.

Sixth, it DOESN'T CREATE A "ADVANCEMENTS VS SHIP QUALITY" RATIONING ISSUE! Its a 2-birds/1-stone deal. The Tokens used to Develop your Advancements are the same ones used to Improve Weapons and/or Shields. Instead of being torn between "do I get advancemenst, raise shields, or raise weapons?" it changes it to "do I spend the research used on this advancement to raise sheilds, or weapons?"

Seventh, this fixes my own issue that the cost to improve Weapons and Shields are too high. I was looking to reduce the cost of both significantly for all races (weapons being 2/4/6/8 - shields being 3/5/7/9), but this fixes that issue completely for me. In fact, reducing them while using this mod would be absurdly cost effective!

The whole thing retains the element of choice (what Advancement do I develop? Do I improve Shields or Weapons?) while stream-lining the whole effect. It makes Research far more interesting.

Regardless I'm using it in my game. This simple tweak makes this game feel good. I'm simply sharing it for anyone else to consider. And I strongly advice you consider using it :)

Guðmundur Skallagrímson has already playtested it in his game and said it worked fine. Most players only got out 8-Advancements, which is nearly twice what I've seen im my games (averaging around 3-5 advancements per player).

I'm looking forward to doing the same :)


AFTERWORD
In addition to the above, I still use my current Mod of, whenever you build a Research Node (NOTE: whenever you BUILD - not when you gain control via Hegemony/ Invasion) you immediately launch a Project and place a Research Token from the supply on the new project.

This accelerates early game Advancements without reducing the Cost of the cards, and encourages early game development of Research Nodes (and Mid-game somewhat as well), so the effects of the Projects are in play quicker.

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Trueflight Silverwing
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The drawback I see to this is that some races benefit greatly from their advancements while others would benefit more from raising their weapons and shields.

You are basically giving bonuses to those races that have strong advancements worth getting early on, and penalizing those races taht have weak advancements and benefit from strengthening shields and weapons early on.


Just don't see the point in changing something that doesn't seem to be broken I guess. Different people have different play styles and this seems to make one option better and easier than another option. It just forces players to do things a certain way which is completely against the open sandbox style of running your faction that the game thrives on.
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Joseph Courtight
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I like it. The research projects are worse than just bumping up shields 90% of the time. This will let some of those cool researches actually shine.
 
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Angelus Seniores
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So basically instead of spending 10 research tokens on research and another 10 for shields/weapons (total 20) you now get to use the 10 tokens from advancements again for the shields/weapons essentially halving the research costs.

While the idea does have some merit, lowering the costs seems too big an advantage and not a handicap.
 
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David Reed
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I like the idea enough to give it a try.

One mitigation factor for Trueflights input is that by having to first upgrade advancements, it will take longer to develop shields and weapons as you still can only apply one / turn.

D.
 
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Grish
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Angelsenior wrote:
So basically instead of spending 10 research tokens on research and another 10 for shields/weapons (total 20) you now get to use the 10 tokens from advancements again for the shields/weapons essentially halving the research costs.


That's the problem I see with this rule. Also, it does take away a choice from the player, "do I pump into shields or do I get an advancement?"

That being said, Zenjoy I agree with your criticism of this game. Please keep trying to mod it and throw ideas around. My friends and I are also looking at ways to mod this game.

One thing I might suggest in the spirit of this mod is you can only upgrade 1 level of shields/weapons per Advancement card you hold.

So to upgrade shields twice you need to hold 2 advancements. If you want to upgrade shields twice and weapons once, you need to have 3 advancement cards. I think this will force players to have a little more choice, "do I go for a big 5 advancement or a cheap 3 Advancement to pump my weapons faster?" Essentially though it does the same thing as your mod - forces the player to use his advancements.

The problem with this game is it doesn't make certain advancements an appealing choice vs weapons/shields. What I like about your mod is it puts more flavour and theme back into the game, but it doesn't fix the underlying problem that some advancements suck compared to shields/weapons. GF9 dropped the ball here and it feels to me like the game wasn't tested enough.
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Guðmundur Skallagrímson
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Angelsenior wrote:

While the idea does have some merit, lowering the costs seems too big an advantage and not a handicap.

An advantage for whom? Everyone? Romulans, because of their culture ability? Klingons because they get advancements that aid them in combat? Federation because of their exploration advancements? zfairborn wanted more advancements to come out, because it adds to the flavour of the races, I agreed and this does that without sacrificing weapon and shield progression. STYLES_DNR correctly identifies the mitigating factor is now time instead of resources. I don't think this change is necessarily better, but it does change the flavour in a way that happens to enhance my (and zfairborn's, apparently) enjoyment.
 
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James Buckley
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Angelsenior wrote:
So basically instead of spending 10 research tokens on research and another 10 for shields/weapons (total 20) you now get to use the 10 tokens from advancements again for the shields/weapons essentially halving the research costs.

While the idea does have some merit, lowering the costs seems too big an advantage and not a handicap.


I'm not sure either. I agree that in the base game there's less incentive for certain factions to develop advancements over others. The Federation in particular seems poorly served. But this proposed solution creates issues. A) it's going to particularly benefit the Romulans, obviously. B) how will it interact with Ferengi Arms dealer card (this may not be an issue, but it might)? C) it means all the factions will be able to more quickly get better weapons and shields, as obviously all research that is spent on technology can be ultimately double counted. This might be a significant issue when the Borg come in as they could be under powered against the playable factions which are tougher now because of this new rule.
While I don't personally use it I think focused research might address the problem in a bit more of a balanced way. I do however like your idea of adding an advancement each time you build a research node, if this issue really does annoy you. It seems thematically sound and shouldn't have so much impact on the balance of the game.
 
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Rob D
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Not sure that a straight 1:1 transfer of Research on completed advancements isn't broken, but I really like the idea of Research tokens being a commutable resource.

Still, there should be a "price" for developing technologies. Otherwise, you're basically receiving weapon and shield upgrades for free.

What about this as an modification?

Once a project has been completed, remove half of the Research tokens used from the card (rounded up). The remaining tokens may be used to purchase either Weapon or Shield upgrades.
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Maldus Alver

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yeah the research resource at times does seem to have limited use. Unlike production which gives you your ships and build stuff and culture which wins you the game. That is the thing about middling resources.
 
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Private Blinky
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RebRob wrote:
Not sure that a straight 1:1 transfer of Research on completed advancements isn't broken, but I really like the idea of Research tokens being a commutable resource.

Still, there should be a "price" for developing technologies. Otherwise, you're basically receiving weapon and shield upgrades for free.

What about this as an modification?

Once a project has been completed, remove half of the Research tokens used from the card (rounded up). The remaining tokens may be used to purchase either Weapon or Shield upgrades.



I'm thinking this mod-to-the-mod right might be a good idea; half of your research resources (which factors in personnel but not supplies) is a good balancer to what can be carried over from advancement projects being reassigned to wepon/shield development.

Also, to continue to permit the player that they can still have the choice to upgrade shields and weapons, rather than sitting on a stack of extra research that you can't assign to projects due to unlucky system draws and you don't feel the urge to use it for bidding on turn order.

But still (as your mod is clearly inferring) there should be putting some sort of soft cap level on the level of shields/weapons that the player CAN reach until a certain number of advancements are out.


Overall, this way the player is ENCOURAGED to develop advancements, but not be railed into waiting for advancements to complete if they have to all of a sudden 'adapt' (and yes that is a hint on what future elements may have to say on if you can't raise shields and weapons fast enough....)

Overall I personally find the base of this proposed mod solid, but maybe just a little more finesseing is needed for my taste. Good job, though.
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Alexander Steinbach
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Interesting discussion and great ideas.

I am wondering one simple thing after reading all this:

Why does this mod disallow players to invest in shields and weapons the normal way? If people want to straight up buy shield and weapon upgrades, let them. The advantage of doing so would be time. They can get the upgrades immediately. However, if they have patience, they can get the same upgrade plus a technology advantage.

This keeps the original choice intact. Do I invest in tech or do I focus on weapons and shields? However, it also results in players that choose to invest in tech to not fall too much behind. In my opinion, that is the best of both worlds. It simultaneously promotes the tech route while keeping the possibility of focussing on weapons and shields.
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Rob D
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PrivateBlinky wrote:
RebRob wrote:
Not sure that a straight 1:1 transfer of Research on completed advancements isn't broken, but I really like the idea of Research tokens being a commutable resource.

Still, there should be a "price" for developing technologies. Otherwise, you're basically receiving weapon and shield upgrades for free.

What about this as an modification?

Once a project has been completed, remove half of the Research tokens used from the card (rounded up). The remaining tokens may be used to purchase either Weapon or Shield upgrades.



I'm thinking this mod-to-the-mod right might be a good idea; half of your research resources (which factors in personnel but not supplies) is a good balancer to what can be carried over from advancement projects being reassigned to wepon/shield development.

Also, to continue to permit the player that they can still have the choice to upgrade shields and weapons, rather than sitting on a stack of extra research that you can't assign to projects due to unlucky system draws and you don't feel the urge to use it for bidding on turn order.

But still (as your mod is clearly inferring) there should be putting some sort of soft cap level on the level of shields/weapons that the player CAN reach until a certain number of advancements are out.


Overall, this way the player is ENCOURAGED to develop advancements, but not be railed into waiting for advancements to complete if they have to all of a sudden 'adapt' (and yes that is a hint on what future elements may have to say on if you can't raise shields and weapons fast enough....)

Overall I personally find the base of this proposed mod solid, but maybe just a little more finesseing is needed for my taste. Good job, though.


Final mod to the mod to the mod thought...lol

I always like tying the idea of "ascendancy" into game mechanics. Give this a ponder:

1. Upon completion of a project, make a Miltary Research check
2. Add the newly completed advancement's Research cost to your current Ascendancy. This represents the Advancement's Military Research Potential(MRP) - your race's ability to adapt new technologies to further your offensive and defensive capabilities.
3. Roll the Space Lane die.
4. Subtract the die from the MRP
5. Take the result and remove that many tokens from the Advancement (always leaving a minimum of 1 research token on the card).
6. The remaining token(s) may be used to purchase Weapon or Shield upgrades.


This mod intrigues me as I think it addresses a lot of concerns I had with the original variant.

a. It provides a "cost" for researching technologies, while still providing a benefit for doing so.
b. It rewards races for researching more advanced technologies. The higher the tech's value, the more likely he/she will have multiple Research tokens remaining from which to buy upgrades.
c. It provides an extra benefit for higher Ascendancy.
d. Both b & c provide a "ramping" up feeling. While initial research development and Ascendancy may be slow, that can change with increased Advancements, which provide Commands, Warp, and Culture (for Romulans).
e. It adds an element of chance to the outcome, with mitigating factors. Level 3 technologies while cheaper and quicker, may provide only limited Military Research. Whereas the Level 4 and ESPECIALLY the Level 5 will tend to leave more Research for upgrades (in fact, using this system, the Level 5 technology GUARANTEES a minimum of 2 Research for upgrades).

 
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Private Blinky
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Vardaine wrote:
Interesting discussion and great ideas.

I am wondering one simple thing after reading all this:

Why does this mod disallow players to invest in shields and weapons the normal way? If people want to straight up buy shield and weapon upgrades, let them. The advantage of doing so would be time. They can get the upgrades immediately. However, if they have patience, they can get the same upgrade plus a technology advantage.

This keeps the original choice intact. Do I invest in tech or do I focus on weapons and shields? However, it also results in players that choose to invest in tech to not fall too much behind. In my opinion, that is the best of both worlds. It simultaneously promotes the tech route while keeping the possibility of focussing on weapons and shields.


For sure, that's what I was trying to suggest in my second paragraph, but after re-reading it, I see I wasn't exactly straightforward in wording it that way.
 
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Private Blinky
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RebRob wrote:
PrivateBlinky wrote:
RebRob wrote:
Not sure that a straight 1:1 transfer of Research on completed advancements isn't broken, but I really like the idea of Research tokens being a commutable resource.

Still, there should be a "price" for developing technologies. Otherwise, you're basically receiving weapon and shield upgrades for free.

What about this as an modification?

Once a project has been completed, remove half of the Research tokens used from the card (rounded up). The remaining tokens may be used to purchase either Weapon or Shield upgrades.



I'm thinking this mod-to-the-mod right might be a good idea; half of your research resources (which factors in personnel but not supplies) is a good balancer to what can be carried over from advancement projects being reassigned to wepon/shield development.

Also, to continue to permit the player that they can still have the choice to upgrade shields and weapons, rather than sitting on a stack of extra research that you can't assign to projects due to unlucky system draws and you don't feel the urge to use it for bidding on turn order.

But still (as your mod is clearly inferring) there should be putting some sort of soft cap level on the level of shields/weapons that the player CAN reach until a certain number of advancements are out.


Overall, this way the player is ENCOURAGED to develop advancements, but not be railed into waiting for advancements to complete if they have to all of a sudden 'adapt' (and yes that is a hint on what future elements may have to say on if you can't raise shields and weapons fast enough....)

Overall I personally find the base of this proposed mod solid, but maybe just a little more finesseing is needed for my taste. Good job, though.


Final mod to the mod to the mod thought...lol

I always like tying the idea of "ascendancy" into game mechanics. Give this a ponder:

1. Upon completion of a project, make a Miltary Research check
2. Add the newly completed advancement's Research cost to your current Ascendancy. This represents the Advancement's Military Research Potential(MRP) - your race's ability to adapt new technologies to further your offensive and defensive capabilities.
3. Roll the Space Lane die.
4. Subtract the die from the MRP
5. Take the result and remove that many tokens from the Advancement (always leaving a minimum of 1 research token on the card).
6. The remaining token(s) may be used to purchase Weapon or Shield upgrades.


This mod intrigues me as I think it addresses a lot of concerns I had with the original variant.

a. It provides a "cost" for researching technologies, while still providing a benefit for doing so.
b. It rewards races for researching more advanced technologies. The higher the tech's value, the more likely he/she will have multiple Research tokens remaining from which to buy upgrades.
c. It provides an extra benefit for higher Ascendancy.
d. Both b & c provide a "ramping" up feeling. While initial research development and Ascendancy may be slow, that can change with increased Advancements, which provide Commands, Warp, and Culture (for Romulans).
e. It adds an element of chance to the outcome, with mitigating factors. Level 3 technologies while cheaper and quicker, may provide only limited Military Research. Whereas the Level 4 and ESPECIALLY the Level 5 will tend to leave more Research for upgrades (in fact, using this system, the Level 5 technology GUARANTEES a minimum of 2 Research for upgrades).



All abord the mod train!

The ascendancy integration is neat, but I think the more 'random' element turns it off for me personally. The main focus for the OPs mod (if Im understanding correctly) is to drive more development in research and advancements and give players a more unique portfolio. With the proposal of a randomized research bonus as opposed to a hard-and-fast guaranteed residual value, that will make some players see less benifit to doing more projects if the research incentive is left up to chance, and it also (slightly) reduces the benifit for those who like the more strategic element to prioritize their research strengths (apart from phenomenon, every player knows just how much research they will be generating every round and can be free to plan their research use ahead a couple of turns)

If Im understanding your formula right, if Residual Research works like tokens = 3 Project - [(Lv 1 Asc + 3 Project) - 4 space roll], that means I can get 3 residual research? Not to mention once I hit level 3 ascendancy, I can only ever claim one residual resource token? It does incentivise the lower level projects more away from the upper tier projects, and I'm on the fence whether that's a good or bad thing.
 
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Zenjoy
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Good ideas all round from the productive suggesting peoples :)

To respond to some of the feedback:

1) While this does halve the cost of Research for all players, it does delays the development of Weapons and Shields on par with the Speed Advancements complete themselves.

2) The cost of weapons/ shield does not decrease. Given the expense of Shields to level 1 is 6-Research, that will require you to finish Two advancements just to get to that point. If you try to raise your shields to level 3 (10-tokens) that will require 3 completed Advancements.

3) Adding this as an alternative to still raising shields/weapons normally is fine if you want to. But for me I think it again would reduce incentive for developing Advancements. Which again was the purpose of this mod - to increase the development of Advancements over pure Military Development.

4) This doesn't give the Romulans a buff at all. They are going to develop their Advancements anyway. This simply gives them a buff to their weapons and shields along the way.

5) This doesn't penalize the Klingons and Federation. They both likely want to raise the quality of their ships - this just gives them some Advancements to use along the way.

6) In the case of certain Exploration Cards (e.g.; Ferengi Weapons dealer) I say remove those cards from the deck. Personally I dislike the Ferengi Expansion exploration cards. They take away from the feel of exploration and episode tributes. I don't use em.

7) Even with all of the concerns people have regarding this reduces the cost of research by the "two-birds;one-stone" mod, keep in mind that, for the Romulans to research EVERY advancement would require them to spend

P.S.:

I do like the ideas of:

- "cannot raise shields/weapons" higher than the number of advancements. I won't use it though as the Research cost for both is still absurdly high. But a good thought

- reduce number of Research Tokens on a completed advancement by half. My advice on that is just make it "reduce the number of tokens on a completed Advancement by -2" for simplicity. I may trial this mod-on-the-mod, but only if the other effects go a bit too crazy.
 
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Guðmundur Skallagrímson
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Vardaine wrote:
Interesting discussion and great ideas.

I am wondering one simple thing after reading all this:

Why does this mod disallow players to invest in shields and weapons the normal way? If people want to straight up buy shield and weapon upgrades, let them. The advantage of doing so would be time. They can get the upgrades immediately. However, if they have patience, they can get the same upgrade plus a technology advantage.

This keeps the original choice intact. Do I invest in tech or do I focus on weapons and shields? However, it also results in players that choose to invest in tech to not fall too much behind. In my opinion, that is the best of both worlds. It simultaneously promotes the tech route while keeping the possibility of focussing on weapons and shields.

Agreed, there is no reason to disallow players from buying the weapons or shields directly, if they choose. From an efficiency standpoint though, it makes sense mostly to allow the research tokens to count twice, unless in situational cases of urgent need for immediate weapons or shields.

The end goal for these changes is to see more advancements in play. Whatever accomplishes this in a satisfying way is an improvement for my table.
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Emiliano Fortini
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I think that a good compromise is to constrain technological advancements with shields/weapons at the same pace of progress, I mean you can have 1 advancements and only 1 level of shield AND weapons or 2 advancements and only 2 level of shield AND weapons and so on.
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