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Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition» Forums » Variants

Subject: TI4 2 Player Princess Variant rss

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Leia Durrant
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I must first give credit to Roliander/Aarontu (see: Another 2-Player Variant) since it is their design that I am building off of and applying to TI4.

Prior to this, we have tried our own homebrewed variant we call "The Clone Variant" that left our brains feeling pretty fried after two separate 5 hour plays. After admitting that I may need more help, I went to the internet for some sage-like guidance that lead me to Roliander's variant. Though "Princess" is still in the early phases, it felt really good; hence the post. I plan on updating the OP as we get more plays in. As of 9/19/17 we have played "Princess 1.0" once using 10 VPs that took roughly 100 minutes, not including set up and it was a blast. In our next game, we plan on playing to 14 for even more epic-y epicness.

Please try it out and give us that sweet, sweet feedback! Thanks.

Princess 1.4




Setup

1) Remove the Supernova and 4 of the blank space red tiles.
2) Shuffle the rest of the tiles and deal six blue and two red tiles to each player.
3) Players take turns placing tiles until all tiles have been placed
4) Player homeworlds are in the second ring across from each other.
5) Shuffle the phase 1 public objective cards and reveal one face up. Then deal four phase 1 public objectives to each player. Both players secretly select two cards then adds it to the existing objective. Shuffle the cards to form the phase 1 deck.
6) Reveal the top three objectives. These are all eligible to be scored. Then reveal the next card and place it face up on top of the deck. This objective is not available to be scored but is the next in the queue. (1.3)
7) During the Reveal Public Objective step, add the revealed top card to the available objectives. Then reveal the next card and place it face up on top of the deck. This is not available to be scored but is next in the queue. (1.3)
8) At the end of round 2, during the Reveal Public Objective step (after adding the last revealed card to the available objectives), compile the deck as described above in step 5 using the phase 2 objective cards. Then reveal the next two cards and place one face up on top of and the other next to the deck. These objectives are not available to be scored but are the next in the queue. (1.3)
9) At the end of round 3, during the Reveal Public Objective step, add the two revealed cards to the available objectives. Then reveal the next card and place it face up on top of the deck. This objective is not available to be scored but... you get the idea. (1.3)
10) Follow step 7 for all future Reveal Public Objective steps of the status phase. (1.3)


We mixed in some Through the Ages for the publics because Vlaada's mind is way too sexy for his shirt.)

The Strategy Cards

1) Leadership Strategy Card: No Change.
2) Diplomacy Strategy Card: No Change.
3) Politics Strategy Card: Remove "Choose a player other than the speaker. That player gains the speaker token." from the primary ability.
4) Construction Strategy Card: No Change
5) Trade Strategy Card: The primary ability should be as follows:
Quote:
"Gain 3 trade goods"
"All players replenish their commodities."

The secondary ability should read:
Quote:
"Spend 1 token from your strategy pool to gain 2 trade goods."

6) Warfare Strategy Card: No Change
7) Technology Strategy Card: No Change
8) Imperial Strategy Card: No Change.

Beginning with the speaker, players alternate selecting an available strategy card until both have taken three strategy cards. First player in the action phase is determined by who holds the strategy card with the lowest number. The two unpicked strategy cards get a trade good.

Speaker Token (1.1)

At the beginning of each Strategy Phase, before choosing Strategy Cards, the Speaker Token passes to the other player.


Agenda Phase

Vote on three separate Agenda Cards instead of the normal two. (1.2)

Each Agenda Card is voted for in 2 rounds.

Round 1
1) The Speaker draws the top card and reads it out load.
2) Then without talking both players secretly write down (or text) how they are voting and how much they are willing to spend. No passing.
3) Both players reveal simultaneously (or hit send) and exhaust planets to match their committed influence values. If one player's committed influence value at least doubles his opponents, then that vote is immediately over and the Agenda card is resolved. If not, proceed to round 2.

Round 2
1) Talking and trading are allowed.
2) Once this is finished both players secretly write down (or text) how they are voting and how much they are willing to spend. You may vote differently than Round 1. (1.4) Passing is allowed.
3) Finally, both players reveal simultaneously (or hit send) and add their total to the previous round to get the final vote and resolve the Agenda Card.

After the Agenda Card has been resolved proceed to the next Agenda card as normal.

(Shady text battles always brighten up my day.)

Action Cards

All Actions cards that refer to the Agenda Phase in any way should read as follows:

Quote:
Add plus two Influence to any vote. May be played after Round 1 or Round 2 of voting to adjust the totals.


(A cosmic encounter with blood raging space kittens forced this pawesome rule upon us.)

Compensation (1.2) Under Construction

Spoiler (click to reveal)
The player with the lowest Victory Points gains trade goods equal to the difference from their score and their opponents. For example, Jim's score is 4 and Tom's score is 6. Jim would receive 2 trade goods whenever he is eligible to check for compensation.

A player is eligible to check for Compensation when he/she:
1) Loses a combat.
2) Performs the secondary ability of a strategy card.
3) After the Score Objectives step of the Status Phase.

(This is here to help prevent snowballing or at the very least gives some of that delicious snowball to your best of bestest friend. I mean, I might be losing by five points BUT LOOK AT ALL THIS CARDBOARD I GET!!!)


Commodities (1.2)

At the beginning of the Status Phase, before Scoring Objectives, you may convert your Commodities into Trade Goods at a 2:1 ratio.




Princess Variants


Age of Empires (1.2)

A fun scoring alternative with a heavier focus on long term strategy. After step 4 in set up proceed with the following.

5) Shuffle the phase 1 public objective cards and reveal one face up. Then deal four phase 1 public objectives to each player. Both players secretly select two cards then adds it to the existing objective. Reveal all five objectives, these are all eligible to be scored.
6) Compile the deck as described above in step 5 using the phase 2 objective cards. Reveal all five cards once the deck is built, these are all eligible to be scored after the third round (Round 4 Status Phase).
7) Place a glass bead (or and item of your choice) on the left most Public Objective, this will serve as your round tracker. At the end of a round, during the Reveal Public Objective step, slide the glass bead to the next Public Objective.
8) The game ends immediately when a player reaches 14 points or when the glass bead moves off the last phase 2 objective (Round 10).

King of the Hill (1.3)

This slight tweak helps push the action into the center of the board. Simply replace step 3 of set up with what you see below.

3) Players take turns placing tiles until all tiles have been placed. Red tiles may not be placed in the inner ring.



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PK Levine
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This looks pretty interesting. I might give it a try!

One minor suggestion: The Speaker Token rule would be simpler as, "At the beginning of each Strategy Phase, before choosing Strategy Cards, the Speaker Token passes to the other player."
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Leia Durrant
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Quote:
One minor suggestion: The Speaker Token rule would be simpler as, "At the beginning of each Strategy Phase, before choosing Strategy Cards, the Speaker Token passes to the other player."

Agreed and updated. Much cleaner. Thanks!!!!

1.0 Version
Quote:
Pass back and forth at the end of the Status Phase or the Agenda Phase when it becomes available.
 
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Erik Burigo
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Great variant! thumbsup

May I suggest to leave the Politics Strategy Card as is but preventing the player with the Speaker token from choosing it?
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ldurrant20 wrote:
2) Then without talking both players secretly write down (or text) how they are voting and how much they are willing to spend. No passing.
3) Both players reveal simultaneously (or hit send) and exhaust planets to match their committed influence values.

Great galactic superpowers texting each other hehe. How about using twitter like today's world leaders?

Anyway, I didn't go into details of the variant, but I'm impressed by your work. Good job!
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Leia Durrant
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Quote:
May I suggest to leave the Politics Strategy Card as is but preventing the player with the Speaker token from choosing it?

Hey Painkeeper thanks for the feedback.meeple

Let's start by clarifying how the Politics Strategy Card works in a two player game; it's not super obvious at first. If we leave the Politics Strategy Card alone the Speaker Token would bounce back and forth each round, assuming someone selects it.
Quote:
Choose a player other than the speaker. That player gains the speaker token.

So no matter who grabs it, the Speaker Token will move.

Our issue came up when someone didn't select it. Now all of a sudden I am the Speaker 2 rounds in a row which is GREAT for me!!!! But with game balance in a 2 player game constantly threatening to tip the table we decided to use this rule that seemed to work out for the TI3 2 player variant.
Quote:
1) Initiative Strategy Card: Not used. The speaker token will simply alternate between the two players. As the last step of the Status Phase the current speaker hands the speaker token to his opponent.


My biggest problem with this change is that it removes choice, which is something I never want to do. With this being the early phases of Princess, and our play testing being practically nonexistent, perhaps we are giving too much credit to the strength of the Speaker Token. But alas we are siding with history and choosing what our brains perceive as "balance" over choice....for now.




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Leia Durrant
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Thanks!!

Quote:
Great galactic superpowers texting each other hehe.

Oh it's much worse than just that. We both have iphones and use the drawing feature, which leads to some pretty sketchy images flying about this intergalactic space senate meeting.
 
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Erik Burigo
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ldurrant20 wrote:
[...]
Our issue came up when someone didn't select it. Now all of a sudden I am the Speaker 2 rounds in a row which is GREAT for me!!!! But with game balance in a 2 player game constantly threatening to tip the table we decided to use this rule that seemed to work out for the TI3 2 player variant. [...]


Yes, that was the desired effect I was suggesting, but if you tell me that that is more a problem than a feature I believe you.
 
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Leia Durrant
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Quote:
Yes, that was the desired effect I was suggesting, but if you tell me that that is more a problem than a feature I believe you.


Possibly. Definitely something we are going to keep an eye on in future plays. Thanks.
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T.J.
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I guess the question that remains - is looking at, and manipulating, the agenda deck enough to make the politics strategy card a good choice? Especially at first, before MR is taken, it seems like it would be gathering dusts (and trade goods). so giving it the power of taking the speaker creates a tough choice: the current speaker might choose it remain the speaker but that means they are giving up one other strategy card. If they don't take it, the opponent might take but it's a bit costly for them as well.

but if being speaker twice in a row is huge, as you say, perhaps it's best to avoid it. Still, there might be a first player advantage here. maybe it'll be good to add something to the politics' primary.


 
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Tyler Durden
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are there any more experiences on this variant.
we maybe want to try it out today.
is it good? for learning the game?
how are politics working?
do they feel good?
 
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I have now played this variant twice (and its predecessor too) and wish to offer my feedback.

Setup

Removing blank spaces I get, but why the Supernova?
The Embers of Muatt utilise Supernovas, similar to how Clan of Saar utilise asteroid fields. So it only handicaps the Muatt. Apart from that one situation, the removal of those tiles is a good idea.

Public objectives take too long to reveal. This version of two-player rules has dropped the 'Age of Empires' rules for public objectives. Whereby, all public objectives are visible from the start of the game. We have found that when not revealed the game drags and due to the smaller field of play (two rings of tiles) there is inevitable; combat for the sake of combat, just to feel like something is being done. However, the public objective selection rule is good; one random, and each player chooses two from a hand of four. This can help tailor strategy and reduce luck of the objectives leaning too much towards an opponents strategy style, and not your own. (A the very least, the Age of Empires variant rules should be included as an option as not everyone knows about them.)

Strategy Cards

Yes good. Was initially worried about reinstatement of Leadership card but it works well.
Speaker picks strategy first but lowest initiative has first turn is great.
Swapping speaker token each turn is good.

Agenda Phase

I really like the double bid for each agenda. I only wonder if two agendas is enough. And I don't even mean for just two players. I think three sounds much better for TI4 in general. (I will try this next time we play.) It means you won't already know by end of first agenda who will win the second. Also, whoever bids a lot in first two will have high risk of not being able to win the last unknown one.

Compensation

We actually forgot to use this rule the first time. (Enough to remember in the game as it is.) However, in retrospective analysis, compensation would only have tipped the balance off in the game as the person dominating in the game actually had one less VP for most of the game. People might hold off on scoring a VP just from more TGs. So we also didn't use it in the second game which would also have had the same problem. We will not be using this rule, at least not in the form that it is in now.

Other

Commodities seem like a lost opportunity. Their trade never occurs. Perhaps they could be worth TGs at a 2:1 rate? (As some only have two commodities as standard.) This way their replenishment can be integrated into your plans.

Something for consideration from a game a while back; Rather than both players being able to claim Public objectives, perhaps make each public objective exclusive for the first player to claim it. (This could work with or with out Age of Empires variant in play.) Not sure if I'll stick with this but it did make for some interesting choices. Will provide more detailed opinion on this potential rule after a couple plays with it.
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Leia Durrant
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Thanks for the feedback!!!

We have played one game with "a version" (see objectives) of the tweaks you added and enjoyed it very much. We have another game planned for this Wednesday to really get the feel for it.

Setup
Removing blank spaces I get, but why the Supernova?

The logic is to get rid of the wall. I suppose if playing with Embers you can just throw it in there and remove 5 empties.

Agenda Phase
I think three sounds much better for TI4 in general. (I will try this next time we play.)

We tried this and liked it a lot. It made for more interesting choices as far as where to spend your precious influence. (added 1.2)


Commodities
Perhaps they could be worth TGs at a 2:1 rate?

In general trading feels weak in a 2 player game. We did play with this in our last game and liked it. Nothing wrong with taking commodities, which felt completely useless, and giving them at least some purpose. Added it to the start of the Status phase so the "Salvage" action card is not rendered useless. (added 1.2)

Compensation
People might hold off on scoring a VP just for more TGs.

This is true. Our last game we played with it turned off and didn't feel any negative effects. I will keep thinking about this one in future plays, perhaps based on number of planets controlled?? I feel like something should be in place, I'm just not sure what. (removed 1.2...under construction)

For Reference:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Compensation

The player with the lowest Victory Points gains trade goods equal to the difference from their score and their opponents. For example, Jim's score is 4 and Tom's score is 6. Jim would receive 2 trade goods whenever he is eligible to check for compensation.

A player is eligible to check for Compensation when he/she:
1) Loses a combat.
2) Performs the secondary ability of a strategy card.
3) After the Score Objectives step of the Status Phase.

(This is here to help prevent snowballing or at the very least gives some of that delicious snowball to your best of bestest friend. I mean, I might be losing by five points BUT LOOK AT ALL THIS CARDBOARD I GET!!!)


Public objectives take too long to reveal. At the very least, the Age of Empires variant rules should be included as an option as not everyone knows about them.

This is a tough one, for my gaming partner hates to much open information because
A.) she does not want to be front loaded with 10 cards
B.) she does not want to just fixate on those 2 pointers.

So as a comprise we tried Age of Empires with only revealing the the Act 1 cards at the beginning and then at the end of round 3 building and revealing all of the Act 2 cards. This was a lot of fun and we intend to try it again on Wednesday. (added 1.2)

Lastly I am very excited to hear your ideas on making public objectives exclusive to the first player to claim them.

I have an idea (Tash_Kalar) that I would like to try.

Each player will be dealt five Act 1 cards and then select three. Those cards get shuffled and set aside. Then each player gets dealt five Act 2 cards and select three. These cards gets shuffled and set aside. Players then take these two stacks of six cards and places the Act 1 cards on top of the Act 2 cards. Reveal the top three cards, these are eligible to be scored. Lastly reveal the top card and place it face up on the deck. This card is not eligible to be scored but is the next card in line.

Of course who knows when I will have time to try it, but I am defiantly looking forward to hearing how your games go.

Thanks again for all the wonderful ideas. Without a doubt you made our own personal two player experience even better.


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Leia Durrant
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Ok. The Wednesday game is in the books!!!

We ended up tweaking the Public Objectives to cater to our preference while still trying to address the problems of the old version. The first thing we lasered in on was scoring options. Revealing one extra phase one card at the start of the game instantly gave us more to chew on. But then we took it a step further decided to reveal one extra phase two card, one round earlier no less, which just added to the "scorey" goodness without front loading us with to much info. The causality of war here is we effectively lose 2 rounds to the game. But seeing as how we still made it to 14, even with something kind of funny happening which I will mention later, it doesn't seem to be a probelem.

Next we attacked planning and long term strategy. After writing about Tash-Kalar it really got me wanting to try the queue mechanic that game uses and holy hamburgers did it immediately feel great. Almost as if to say "Why didn't you add me sooner you fools!!". Though we feel bad for neglecting our dear friend the "Queue Mechanic" we are happy he is finally here and are thankful he is too forgetful to hold a grudge. Because let me tell you, knowing that the next Objective gave us that little edge to make us feel clever without forcing us to come up with a five year plan.

Lastly we ran into something kinda of odd that happened at the end of round 2 while building the phase two objective deck. I saw her carefully counting planets and then finally asking "What happens when there are not enough planets". Like a psychic ninja I instantly knew what she was talking about and quickly began to count while asking her how many tech specialties the card requires.

Five. The answer was five.

Three. Our board had three.

At which point I told her, "Well I it looks like that's a dead card. I guess you can play it if you want to be a dick"

She did.

She is.

But oddly enough it didn't cause an issue, even in our 14 point game!!! Yes one of our objectives was essentially a piece of trash, but that simply forced us to hone in on the other 4 and get our hands dirty.

So with all that said Wednesday's game was a success and we are looking forward to getting more plays in. But of course who knows when we'll find the time with all of the other amazing games that just beg to be played. Oh well, thanks for reading and keep the feed back a coming.
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Gab Pal
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In reply to Dec 26th comment:

Your welcome, just trying to help develop this.
Thanks so much for implementing some of my ideas.

I see no problem with a "wall" from supernova, not that I've used it in a game yet. Wormholes shorten distances and Supernovas might increase them. Just a change in tactics IMO.

Glad you like the three Agenda idea. I hadn't mentioned but we had found that it was moderately easy for someone to have enough Agenda points to win both cards. (Maybe just luck of draw in map setup.) Having three will definitely allow someone with low influence to commit to one card, hoping to bluff out an influence juggernaut.

So glad Commodities are back in use in the 2P game.

Compensation based on planets... sounded good at first, but again not sure. If it's a close count would you avoid capturing a planet? Or not invade some of your opponents planets, just blockade? I agree with the essence of Compensation so "losing" player has chance to try for a comeback, but no real suggestions for this yet.

I like the 'delayed reveal' for Act2 cards idea. Also, I think I mostly get the Tash-Kalar (never played this game) setup idea, but not the full implementation. Can you explain it in full detail please.
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In reply to Dec 28th(?) comment:

Not sure I really understand what is happening in first paragraph. Are you just starting with 1 extra revealed PubObj from start? Still think next time we'll try the delayed Act2 reveal idea from the previous post.

Not that you've had a chance to reply yet, but, again I don't really understand this Tash-Kalar PubObj idea of yours.

Yes, we too have encountered "dead cards" in our games. Yes, while they can be avoided when picking your two cards from four cards, they have been used to avoid putting in a card that benefits your opponent. Not an issue for us as we play to either 10VP or 10 rounds, whichever comes first.

I agree, I want to get more games in but don't want other games to feel neglected. Will get around to it eventually though.

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Leia Durrant
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Heya, I'm not sure if you've seen but I've updated the OP to describe this new way of scoring. Out of paranoia I will let my friend, she's not a TI player, read over it for me to make sure it's clear. It can be difficult to write these ideas down in a way that makes sense.

Age of Empires
I went ahead and added the legit "Age of Empires" variant to the OP and mixed it with the deck building tweak. If you find you like the delayed end of round 3 reveal for the phase two objectives better, please let me know and I will gladly update. "The Age of Empires" variant while not the perfect fit for her, will be a perfect fit for some of my other friends. So as you said it's defiantly worth having as an option, at the very least so I don't forget when I finally get around to playing this with one of them.

Tash-Kalar
This game has four objectives visible at all times, three in the scoring area and one face up on top of the deck that is next in line to become available. At the end of a round, you may claim exactly 1 of the three available objectives in the scoring area if you meet its criteria. Then you replace it with the face-up objective from the top of the deck and reveal the next top card. So what we stole from Vlaada was having that face up top card. So instead of saying "Ooohh, what do i have to do now" you are saying "Ooohh what's coming up next!!". It feels good.

Extra Objectives

Yes, the start of the game has 3 phase one objectives instead of 2. Then when the phase two objectives arrive, when bring out 2 instead of just 1.

Compensation
Still thinking about it, but I have nothing worth adding to the OP as of yet. This my untested idea I have right now.

-If you have less planets in non-home systems and less points than your opponent, then you are eligible for compensation.
-Compensation is equal to the difference in the number of planets in non-home systems or points, whichever is less.

Welp that's that. Thanks again for the feedback and have fun spreading the love to all those great games.

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Brenton Mallen
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Is there a way to get a printer friendly version of these rules Or is there a preferred method for printing out rules from posts?
 
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z0de board games
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Do you use secret objectives with this?
 
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Leia Durrant
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z0de wrote:
Do you use secret objectives with this?


Yes, the secret objective rules are untouched.
 
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Leia Durrant
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redprsrulz wrote:
Is there a way to get a printer friendly version of these rules Or is there a preferred method for printing out rules from posts?


I'm not sure. Whenever I revisit this I usually just pull it up on my phone. I forget set up in almost every game, including rules that I write .


While I'm at it lets do a little status report.

I have played this twice since the last update and so far so good.

Something of a surprise is that this is now my preferred way to teach the game to new people. Even though Princess is a Variant, I feel the major mechanisms of the game are largely in tact. Also in a big setting there is so much going on that a first timer can feel lost and even panicky if they can't get a rule right (production/capacity/fleet supply). But with this one on one setting it really helped my friend not only learn, but almost win the game. It came down to the last turn.

I have another multiplayer game on March 23rd and am planning on teaching yet another new player the rules to TI4 using Princess. Hopefully it will go as well as last time.
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Doug Stewart
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Has anyone played Lancaster? I think the voting mechanic would work well here, perhaps using fighter/infantry tokens, trade goods, or just cubes from somewhere else. All players keep a number of cubes/chits equal to their planets' total influence (plus any modifiers). For voting purposes, players take the number of cubes/chits equal to their vote in their hands, stretch them over the table, and then reveal their votes after a count of three or suchlike.
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Sean D.
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Runewars, TI's fantasy cousin uses this mechanic of blind bidding.
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Commodities:
I was thinking of adding 2 random races to this varient.
With their systems on the right and left.
When commodities are added, their commodities are placed on their system.
If you are adjacent to them, you can trade yours for theirs on a 1-1 basis.
Their commodities become your trade goods, and are only renewed when trade is taken.
 
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Leia Durrant
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zamoose wrote:
Has anyone played Lancaster? I think the voting mechanic would work well here, perhaps using fighter/infantry tokens, trade goods, or just cubes from somewhere else. All players keep a number of cubes/chits equal to their planets' total influence (plus any modifiers). For voting purposes, players take the number of cubes/chits equal to their vote in their hands, stretch them over the table, and then reveal their votes after a count of three or suchlike.


I have not played Lancaster.

Hector131 wrote:
Runewars, TI's fantasy cousin uses this mechanic of blind bidding.


I do love me some Rune Wars, but sadly that method does not work TI. In Runewars all of the cards read something like "Whoever bid the most Influence does this.". While in TI there are several more variables to take into account such as voting "For or Against" or "Elect Planet" etc.

I know that two rounds of voting may seem a bit clunky, but in practice I find it hilarious.

In Round 1 if you strictly follow the "No Talking Rule" you can find yourself in some pretty intense glare offs as both you and your opponent try to determine what the other is thinking. Then there is the mechanic of "being outvoted by at least double removing Round 2" that instills a certain degree of fear that may cause you to invest maybe a bit heavier than you would of liked.

In Round 2 (if you make it there) the funny moments emerge from the silence of Round 1 and the absurdity of actually hearing your opponents perspective, like who cares am I right? Now imagine them then trying to convince you to vote in such a way that contradicts your Round 1 vote........and then you DO IT?!?!?!?

It cracks me up every time.

Either way thanks for the feed back and feel free to play in whatever way feels good to you. I just hope my words above were able to shine a light on how these rules bring the fun to our table.


Edit: Updated the OP for clarity.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
You may vote differently than Round 1. (1.4)
 
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