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Subject: Early Thoughts Upon Reading the Rules rss

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Kevin Flickner
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Though there are a lot of great games coming out this year and though I have not played it much recently, Eminent Domain is currently my favorite game and has been since I first played it. The Escalation expansion perfected what was lacking in the base game. However, I hesitated with the Exotica expansion and only now have it ordered. It does not seem to add as much to the game--we’ll see what I think after playing it. I have kept up with Seth Jaffee’s blog comments about Oblivion and for awhile was not that excited about it. Actually, Oblivion held little more than passing interest for me until today when I read the rulebook. Right afterward, it hit me that this could be a really great expansion, adding a new dimension to Eminent Domain. Oblivion does not come with a lot of new technology cards nor any new scenarios, but the previous sets probably have enough of those. Oblivion might add more player interaction than any of the other expansions, and player interaction that is more gentle and subtle than stealing or destroying the planets and technologies of other players. Here’s what caught my eye:

New Role: Politics--The major addition Oblivion adds is the new role of politics that can be selected. Unlike other roles, when other players join in, they are empowering the Leader (current player) rather than performing the role themselves. They are rewarded with clout tokens for their assistance, and thus have an incentive to participate. The politics role can be used to flip (annex) certain planets, but the main purpose is to put agendas in place.

Agendas--Agendas are a big game changer, because they change circumstances for every player in the game. Some/most agendas are going to benefit some players more than others.

Clout tokens--I really like the idea of clout tokens because one-use tokens to follow/boost roles could be a lot of fun to collect and deliberate about when to use. They can be used with the politics role but also have symbols for the other 6 roles on the back.

Political Influence Actions--The two new actions on the Political Influence cards are really cool as well. One is to draw a clout token. The other new action to “trade” resources could make the produce/trade roles/actions better by allowing players to stock up on resources before trading them. Since the “traded” resource does not need a slot, it frees up a slot to produce more. I am glad to see the produce/trade roles getting some attention.

The only problem I see right now with Oblivion is that it doesn’t start with an “E”!
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Josh Zscheile
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Anyone reading these forums knows I am a big sucker for EmDo as well. Like you, I was not too impressed with what Seth discussed in his blog posts about Oblivion and have a more positive feeling towards the expansion now that I read the rules. The politics system seems better than what the blog posts suggested, by the simple possibility of betraying your followers (when leading Politics), as long as the goal of the aimed at agenda is not met.
Concerns I have:
- 7 Wonders had a similar situation with its Babel expansion that was not very well received, where the level of player interaction was increased by making certain cards cheaper globally or disallowing some other stuff. Whether or not the agendas will have a similar impact, we will have to see.
- The Politics role offers a new way to flip planets. It is very limited at the start of a game, but with according technologies or agendas, it can become quite efficient in the mid-late game. While I like the notion of more role diversity, I also like the games present balancing act of when, if at all, to forego Colonizing or Attacking in favour of technology or trade. This neat strategical aspect could get lost with the new role. I am however pretty confident the game was well tested.
- The rules are final, but in my opinion, they could have benefited from another revision or two. There is some redundancy in there, and other parts can leave the reader confused (at least they did for me).
- Just a little grudge, but the central display still has no spot for the planet cards, even though it does not lack the space for them.

Overall, I am looking forward to Oblivion, even though initially I doubted I would go buy it. Well done, Seth!
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Matt H
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EmDo is definitely one of my favourite games and have been following Seth on the development of Oblivion as well. I have two questions and one concern coming out of reading the rulebook:

Question 1: During the Setup instructions it says to give each player 2 Politics cards instead of the normal 1. Does this mean that players will have a starting hand of 11 cards?

Question 2: I don't see any reference to Scenario cards. Will they still be compatible with this expansion and any reason why there aren't any new ones?

Concern: The art on the technology cards appear to have more of a Rob Lundy (Harbour, Cthulhu Realms) style, which is more cartoony than the previous EmDo tech cards. Is the art final? I'm concerned about the lack of consistency here and could be a significant drawback.

Thanks!
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Josh Zscheile
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About your concern: Yes, the art is final.
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Seth Jaffee
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Hoovee wrote:
EmDo is definitely one of my favourite games and have been following Seth on the development of Oblivion as well.

Thanks! It makes me happy to hear that people are still playing and enjoying Eminent Domain, and extra happy to hear people list it among their favorite games!

Quote:
I have two questions and one concern coming out of reading the rulebook:

Question 1: During the Setup instructions it says to give each player 2 Politics cards instead of the normal 1. Does this mean that players will have a starting hand of 11 cards?

That is correct, 11 card starting deck.

Quote:
Question 2: I don't see any reference to Scenario cards. Will they still be compatible with this expansion and any reason why there aren't any new ones?

The scenario cards will still be compatible. There are a few (6, I think) scenarios from Eminent Domain: Escalation that you could use with the base game (i.e. when not using Escalation), and those should still possible to use with base + Oblivion. there were also 5 base game scenarios included in Eminent Domain: Microcosm, and they should be compatible as well.

To be honest though, I did not consider the effect of Oblivion on each scenario card, so if there's a scenario that becomes obviously unusable with Oblivion, then I would say don't use that one.

There are no new scenarios in Oblivion, I was more concerned with the Agendas and the Politics role.

Quote:
Concern: The art on the technology cards appear to have more of a Rob Lundy (Harbour, Cthulhu Realms) style, which is more cartoony than the previous EmDo tech cards. Is the art final? I'm concerned about the lack of consistency here and could be a significant drawback.

The main artists we had used for previous EmDo expansions were no longer available, and I wanted a consistent look within this set. Brian Patterson did all of the illustrations, and yes, he has a sort of cartoony style.

Many of the previous cards are a little bit cartoony, and there's a mix of styles from 5 or 6 different artists in them, so I don't think there will be much of a problem adding these new tech cards into the mix.

And as for the cartoony-ness of them, I kind of wanted that -- to an extent, Oblivion is a parody of government, and most of the time government could best be described as "cartoony."

I think Brian did a great job with these illustrations, I like that the expansion art is internally consistent, and I don't think there'll be any problems incorporating this set into the base game (or playing it with previous sets) based on that, but YMMV.

Thanks!
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Josh Zscheile
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sedjtroll wrote:
To be honest though, I did not consider the effect of Oblivion on each scenario card, so if there's a scenario that becomes obviously unusable with Oblivion, then I would say don't use that one.


There is a scenario where you start with a number of politics cards only (I think 5). That one should be interesting. The Artificial Intelligence scenario also gets more power, as well as any scenario with Prestige starting planets (that were obviously balanced not to have any "tech-able" starting planet).
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Seth Jaffee
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Dagar wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
To be honest though, I did not consider the effect of Oblivion on each scenario card, so if there's a scenario that becomes obviously unusable with Oblivion, then I would say don't use that one.


There is a scenario where you start with a number of politics cards only (I think 5). That one should be interesting. The Artificial Intelligence scenario also gets more power, as well as any scenario with Prestige starting planets (that were obviously balanced not to have any "tech-able" starting planet).

I wouldn't worry about the Prestige starting planets. The other ones will certainly change, but hopefully in an interesting way and not a broken way
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noodles
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I think the rules solidifies for me how great this expansion will be. My only question is will the promo pack exotic planets provide a translator for alien symbols to politics? In the image you can see two planets and they have crystal but no translator. The third planet is hidden.
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Seth Jaffee
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noodlemans wrote:
I think the rules solidifies for me how great this expansion will be. My only question is will the promo pack exotic planets provide a translator for alien symbols to politics? In the image you can see two planets and they have crystal but no translator. The third planet is hidden.

Yes, there is an Exotic planet with a Politics translator:
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noodles
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sedjtroll wrote:
noodlemans wrote:
I think the rules solidifies for me how great this expansion will be. My only question is will the promo pack exotic planets provide a translator for alien symbols to politics? In the image you can see two planets and they have crystal but no translator. The third planet is hidden.

Yes, there is an Exotic planet with a Politics translator:


Excellent!
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Chad Hensley
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I think my biggest concern is rather or not I will have this in my possession before Christmas.
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Brian Winkleblech
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Haha, I feel the same way. I read over the rules, and can't wait.

I wonder if there might be Politics Scenarios in the future? I know there's none in Oblivion. I see the tech is different than other planets, not having level 3 tech, but I think most if not all of the scenarios are based off of level 1 or level 2 tech...
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Trent Hamm
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Parliament wrote:
Haha, I feel the same way. I read over the rules, and can't wait.

I wonder if there might be Politics Scenarios in the future? I know there's none in Oblivion. I see the tech is different than other planets, not having level 3 tech, but I think most if not all of the scenarios are based off of level 1 or level 2 tech...


I, too, would like to see some scenarios using the Oblivion mechanics. Even if it were a small deck of additional cards like a Microcosm-sized "booster," I'd happily buy it. EmDo is one of my favorite games of all time.
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Seth Jaffee
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trenttsd wrote:
Parliament wrote:
Haha, I feel the same way. I read over the rules, and can't wait.

I wonder if there might be Politics Scenarios in the future? I know there's none in Oblivion. I see the tech is different than other planets, not having level 3 tech, but I think most if not all of the scenarios are based off of level 1 or level 2 tech...


I, too, would like to see some scenarios using the Oblivion mechanics. Even if it were a small deck of additional cards like a Microcosm-sized "booster," I'd happily buy it. EmDo is one of my favorite games of all time.

I encourage players to create their own Scenarios for Oblivion and post them in the variants section.
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J. Emmett
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I assume Natural Order can be used to revert Political Influence the way it can the Fleet tile (and Mining?).
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Seth Jaffee
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Gravey wrote:
I assume Natural Order can be used to revert Political Influence the way it can the Fleet tile (and Mining?).

Of course
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If two of the three available expansions were combined, which two do you feel would work best?
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Seth Jaffee
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Mlsgeek wrote:
If two of the three available expansions were combined, which two do you feel would work best?

The expansions are designed to be combine-able, so I think it just depends what aspects of the game you like best. Nobody's really played Oblivion yet, but it'll be out soon and you could wait and see what people think of it (just play the base game in the meantime).

Many people have said that Escalation really improved the game for them. And it has the cards and stuff for a 5th player, so I suspect that should be one of the two. After that, I'd say you should see what Exotica offers (new planet type, asteroids, aliens) and what Oblivion offers (new politics role, global agendas, politicking) and see what you prefer.
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Thanks
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James Newman
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Expansion looks really cool, except sorry but I’m really not liking the art, doesn’t fit at all with previous sets, a real drawback that’s putting me off, each to their own I guess.

One to skip
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sedjtroll wrote:
Mlsgeek wrote:
If two of the three available expansions were combined, which two do you feel would work best?

The expansions are designed to be combine-able, so I think it just depends what aspects of the game you like best. Nobody's really played Oblivion yet, but it'll be out soon and you could wait and see what people think of it (just play the base game in the meantime).

Many people have said that Escalation really improved the game for them. And it has the cards and stuff for a 5th player, so I suspect that should be one of the two. After that, I'd say you should see what Exotica offers (new planet type, asteroids, aliens) and what Oblivion offers (new politics role, global agendas, politicking) and see what you prefer.


I'm just going to smash it all into one big set. I'd rather not have to mess around with cherry picking elements in and out. Besides, I don't feel like things were particularly watered down when mixing the first two expansions together.
 
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William Leslie
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sedjtroll wrote:
Quote:
Question 1: During the Setup instructions it says to give each player 2 Politics cards instead of the normal 1. Does this mean that players will have a starting hand of 11 cards?

That is correct, 11 card starting deck.

Quote:
Question 2: I don't see any reference to Scenario cards. Will they still be compatible with this expansion and any reason why there aren't any new ones?

The scenario cards will still be compatible. There are a few (6, I think) scenarios from Eminent Domain: Escalation that you could use with the base game (i.e. when not using Escalation), and those should still possible to use with base + Oblivion. there were also 5 base game scenarios included in Eminent Domain: Microcosm, and they should be compatible as well.

To be honest though, I did not consider the effect of Oblivion on each scenario card, so if there's a scenario that becomes obviously unusable with Oblivion, then I would say don't use that one.

So, as a starting point, if using the scenarios, just give each player one politics card in addition to whatever is listed on the scenario card?
 
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Seth Jaffee
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waleslie wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
Quote:
Question 1: During the Setup instructions it says to give each player 2 Politics cards instead of the normal 1. Does this mean that players will have a starting hand of 11 cards?

That is correct, 11 card starting deck.

Quote:
Question 2: I don't see any reference to Scenario cards. Will they still be compatible with this expansion and any reason why there aren't any new ones?

The scenario cards will still be compatible. There are a few (6, I think) scenarios from Eminent Domain: Escalation that you could use with the base game (i.e. when not using Escalation), and those should still possible to use with base + Oblivion. there were also 5 base game scenarios included in Eminent Domain: Microcosm, and they should be compatible as well.

To be honest though, I did not consider the effect of Oblivion on each scenario card, so if there's a scenario that becomes obviously unusable with Oblivion, then I would say don't use that one.

So, as a starting point, if using the scenarios, just give each player one politics card in addition to whatever is listed on the scenario card?

I'd say yes... If using scenarios, use the listed setup, and since you're playing Oblivion, add 1 Politics card to each starting deck.
 
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