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A Handful of Stars» Forums » Variants

Subject: Master of Orion 2 Variant rss

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Ralf Brechtel
Germany
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I am a big fan of the PC game Master of Orion 2 - Battle at Antares
from 1996. I still play it today from time to time. There is a game
called Master of Orion out, it´s not bad but it lacks the feeling
of the pc game.

A handful of stars is nearer on this game. This is the reason why,
after a few games, i come up with this variant. It goes like this :

Preparation of the board :

You draw a habitable system for every player. This systems will be placed in the outer rows of the board in one of the middle systems. A third habitable system will be placed in the most "middle space" of the board.
This is the alien home system.

After that you place systems randomly as usual. If it happens that a player have no way out, due to black holes, he can take one out of the game.
On the players systems you start with 3 fleets, 1 Star base and the home piece.

Alien home system : here you will find a star fortress ( we use a star base in a different color or in a 4 player we take one star base counter, flip it and marked it "F" ) Then you place 5 Alien counters on it. This is the Alien invesion force. If you have not enough counters in your game, take it from the systems in the corner of the game.

Alien force : with the first shuffling of a player ( shuffle marker 1 )
the first two alien ships start. One in 12 PM and one in 6 PM direction.
The fly to the next system, no matter there is a black hole.

Steering of the ships : after every round the ships move. if on the tile is a block hole connection the Aliens travel along ( they have the technology to do that ). If there is no black hole they take the next right.
NOTE : due to the fact that the connections on the board are not
straight it can happen that the next right system is straight in front only slight to the right.

NOTE 2 : If it happens that a black hole would send an alien ship swing forth and back between two systems it will take, correct, a right.

The remaining two alien ships starts in direction 3 and 9 PM whether the
first two are destroyed or, if not, after the fifth shuffle.

If an alien ship reaches a player system it attacks. Flip the counter to see the attack points and compare the values with yours. If the alien
ship is destroyed you lose, as in the rules, half your ships rounded up.

If the aliens win, you lose half your ships rounded down and your colony, outpost or what you have there. You also have to discard the system card to the deck and correct your VP´s. Maybe you have to shuffle after that( like Rules).

Players can try to attack the Alien home world. There is the system value, the Star fortress Strenght 8 and what is there on ships. After round 5 only one. But this easily can add up to twenty when you unlucky.
If a player conquer the alien world he get 10 VP´s and a free technology card.

The game ends :

2 player : 10 shuffles
3 player : 15 shuffles
4 player : 20 shuffles


So i hope i don´t forget something :-)

This goes out to all "Master of Orion" fans, hope you like it.
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Fabian
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Correction: as per the rules if you lose you remove half the units rounded up; if you win half rounded down.
 
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Ralf Brechtel
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Danke Fabian. Du hast Recht.
 
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Fabian
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I hope my correction didn't come over as being negative. I actually think that this may be pretty fun.

I wonder if this could be developed into a solo variant. What if the moving aliens would activate or "pick up" the other alien counters that are on the board. Basically the alien force chasing the player would become stronger over time. As the movement is know (i.e. non-random) the player, depending on the board situation could either start fleeing and trying to build up a solid cluster on one side of the board. Or, if the player feels strong enough, could decide to go after the aliens and get the bonus points.

I also wonder if the "alien force can move through black holes" is too strong. At the very least movement would be more variable and interesting over multiple plays (but still predictable) if the aliens had to follow the "legal paths" between the systems.
 
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Ralf Brechtel
Germany
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No. It was not negative. It was my fault. The steering of the aliens
was a problem. So i choose the black hole route. Firstly i make a
separate cardset with directions on it. So it was absolutely not predictable. But i don´t want another card deck on the table.

"The black hole thing" was a good was to steer. And one way to create a danger where usually nothing can attack you.

I tried the thing with the "pick up". But the aliens getting too strong
most of the time. Remember, you start only with one home world and three fleets. It takes longer than in the basic game to get strong.

I tried a solo variant with giving the Aliens three starting systems with then moving alien ships on it. Sometimes Aliens attack you from time to time and you can handle it. But i had a game where ships from all directions comes over me and it was a hard fight to survive. Still great fun. And you can scale difficulty with giving the Aliens few or more home worlds with ships.
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