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Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition» Forums » Variants

Subject: Tributary Races (Work In Progress) rss

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John Drake
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EDIT:
Here's the link to the current file page, as everything has changed fairly substantially from this original post.
https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/157301/ti4-vassal-faction...
Current Rules are here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=15fjVkL5HuQL0iSXyU96SrNBOQG...


======


I've been loosely working on an idea for conquerable 'vassal races' in TI for a while now (started thinking about it back before TI4 was announced, so please no "wait till you've tried TI4 before varianting" comments, besides which I have tried TI4, so there....).

The idea is to place a small number of non-player homeworlds in the galaxy, each of which will have its own two-sided race sheet. One side shows the "Independent" status and is left in the common play area while unconquered, the other "Tributary" side acts as player sheet for a secondary race under the control of the conqueror. Tributary races can be conquered or driven into revolt (See Action Card below).

Most of the rules should be pretty self-apparent, but I have a link to my current version of the rules here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1l6o9m2JJT_foo3v-UW-EOVjf...

I've used some modified versions of templates from Chris J. Davis' Variant TI3 race cards (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1136766/variant-ti3-race-ca...)

The only race sheet which I actually have completed so far is the Arborec, but I think it gets the general idea across:





Edit: typos
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Lance Harrop
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Aren't non-home planets pretty much Tributary Races?

You want something half way between a great faction (Race) and a planet bound race?

I can see the desirability of it. I've done stuff like that myself with TI3.

So for now you are planning on using un-chosen Factions from TI4?
 
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Steve
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I think this is a really good idea since there are currently no expansions, so this will add more planet variety to the pool. I think it will be hard to balance it so that one player doesn't get more tributary races then other players, but could be awesome.
 
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John Drake
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Leifr wrote:
Aren't non-home planets pretty much Tributary Races?

You want something half way between a great faction (Race) and a planet bound race?


Essentially, yes. The idea is to integrate at least a few of the other great races into a game as NPCs; I'm extremely lore-centric, and the way I see it, the average planets represent either mixed settlement planets without any specific sense of factional galactic destiny or else home worlds of the "lesser races" which don't have the ability to influence events on a galactic scale. The "Independent" state represents NPC great races which are, unlike your average planet, capable of directly influencing galactic events; for the "Tributary" state, they maintain this significance, but have been subordinated to a specific player's authority.

Leifr wrote:
So for now you are planning on using un-chosen Factions from TI4?

Exactly. I don't know that there's a better way to do it, really, without introducing homebrew races -- something which I'd like to tinker about with eventually.

rawlinsusmc wrote:
I think this is a really good idea since there are currently no expansions, so this will add more planet variety to the pool. I think it will be hard to balance it so that one player doesn't get more tributary races then other players, but could be awesome.


I've been toying with the idea of adding an action card to trigger revolts to try to provide another way of countering this sort of 'snowball imperialism,' so I'll make sure to put that up as I get more of this done, but I'd love to hear any and all ideas for keeping this within the general realm of balanced!
 
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G. Sullivan
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Like the idea and would like to see how this progresses with different races, a couple of thoughts (these are my take on it so if you don't like them please feel free to disregard and continue your design, would still like to see it)

Tributary vs Vassal - Nit picky but i would say a tributary would be more the equivalent of taking control of their systems and using them to produce (like a normal planet), whereas a vassal would maintain control of their systems but be a puppet under your control. (I will say vassal action ahead as i treat them as two states, tributary conquered and occupied, vassal working for you)

In terms of play I could see either as an option, maybe make it that if you want them to be a vassal then what you have covers it with a quick find and replace, if they are a tributary you have control of their planets but you have to keep their planets occupied (with your troops) or they will revolt immediately (in a tributary setup the minor race has no units of their own).

For their actions would a reduced rate of command token replenishment be more appropriate? (say 1 per turn make more sense as they are a minor polity, would limit their usefulness but they do add a lot of ships already, ie 2 additional dreadnoughts available), can i take a Vassal action in place of my action or do they have to act concurrently (can I delay a vassal action).

Could influence be used to take control of a vassal or an independent, try and get a vassal to switch factions by spending influence might give some other races more of an opportunity to change the game, thinking influence heavy races like the Xxcha having minions running about for them.

Commodity/trade, since they should in theory be giving all of their goods to their overlord, for a Vassal they receive half their commodities (round down) and they are immediately given to the overlord as TG's. For tributary they receive full commodities, immediately given to the overlord as TG's. Gives more incentive to try and conquer and occupy, but more risk for revolt.

Vassal production/systems, since they are a puppet they would maintain control of their system and planets and produce using these systems for resources. The overlord could also send TG's to help them produce.

Combined fleets - a vassal could send their ships to join an overlord fleet, they would move as part of that fleet and function as an overlord ship, this ship would be activated by the overlord and not by the vassal (count toward overlord fleet supply), however is still a vassal ship for the purposes of revolt's / objectives. An overlord cannot have a ship under the control of a vassal, they can gift the vassal a ship (change plastic pieces for the gifted ship), this ship is now a vassal ship.

Hope this helps and doesn't stray too far from what you were thinking for this
 
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John Drake
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I’ve finally gotten off from a crazy semester, so I’ll hopefully get my recent work on this posted soon. In the meantime:


SU11YBEAR wrote:
Tributary vs Vassal - Nit picky but i would say a tributary would be more the equivalent of taking control of their systems and using them to produce (like a normal planet), whereas a vassal would maintain control of their systems but be a puppet under your control. (I will say vassal action ahead as i treat them as two states, tributary conquered and occupied, vassal working for you)

In terms of play I could see either as an option, maybe make it that if you want them to be a vassal then what you have covers it with a quick find and replace, if they are a tributary you have control of their planets but you have to keep their planets occupied (with your troops) or they will revolt immediately (in a tributary setup the minor race has no units of their own).


Actually, I think I do like that terminology better. I’ll try to incorporate that into the next draft of this. Don’t think I want to have two different “subject” states, just to avoid over-complication, but you’re right that “vassal” makes more sense here.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
For their actions would a reduced rate of command token replenishment be more appropriate? (say 1 per turn make more sense as they are a minor polity, would limit their usefulness but they do add a lot of ships already, ie 2 additional dreadnoughts available),


That was, if fact, my original plan, but there’s not really any other way to replenish vassal tokens (action cards, perhaps), as I’m intentionally cutting vassal races off from the strategy cards (e.g., Leadership) so it seemed that two would be pretty much necessary to be at all functional. But, given the suggestion of combined fleets below, that might work after all.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
can i take a Vassal action in place of my action or do they have to act concurrently (can I delay a vassal action).

Vassal actions would be in place of a tactical, component, or strategy action.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Could influence be used to take control of a vassal or an independent, try and get a vassal to switch factions by spending influence might give some other races more of an opportunity to change the game, thinking influence heavy races like the Xxcha having minions running about for them.

I haven’t drafted them yet, but I’m planning on an additional action card, four copies, running something along the lines of spending influence to instigate vassal revolts. I like the idea of pushing that a bit further; I’ll mull over that for a bit.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Commodity/trade, since they should in theory be giving all of their goods to their overlord, for a Vassal they receive half their commodities (round down) and they are immediately given to the overlord as TG's. For tributary they receive full commodities, immediately given to the overlord as TG's. Gives more incentive to try and conquer and occupy, but more risk for revolt.

Extra commodity storage is, in fact, the planned special ability for the Hacan.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Vassal production/systems, since they are a puppet they would maintain control of their system and planets and produce using these systems for resources. The overlord could also send TG's to help them produce.

Logical enough, although again I’m concerned about over-complication.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Combined fleets - a vassal could send their ships to join an overlord fleet, they would move as part of that fleet and function as an overlord ship, this ship would be activated by the overlord and not by the vassal (count toward overlord fleet supply), however is still a vassal ship for the purposes of revolt's / objectives. An overlord cannot have a ship under the control of a vassal, they can gift the vassal a ship (change plastic pieces for the gifted ship), this ship is now a vassal ship.
I like this; it would solve some command counter concerns. I’ll write up some rules to integrate something along these lines.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Hope this helps and doesn't stray too far from what you were thinking for this


Any and all feedback is welcome; this has definitely helped.

 
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AgentDrake wrote:

SU11YBEAR wrote:
For their actions would a reduced rate of command token replenishment be more appropriate? (say 1 per turn make more sense as they are a minor polity, would limit their usefulness but they do add a lot of ships already, ie 2 additional dreadnoughts available),


That was, if fact, my original plan, but there’s not really any other way to replenish vassal tokens (action cards, perhaps), as I’m intentionally cutting vassal races off from the strategy cards (e.g., Leadership) so it seemed that two would be pretty much necessary to be at all functional. But, given the suggestion of combined fleets below, that might work after all.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
can i take a Vassal action in place of my action or do they have to act concurrently (can I delay a vassal action).

Vassal actions would be in place of a tactical, component, or strategy action.

...


SU11YBEAR wrote:
Combined fleets - a vassal could send their ships to join an overlord fleet, they would move as part of that fleet and function as an overlord ship, this ship would be activated by the overlord and not by the vassal (count toward overlord fleet supply), however is still a vassal ship for the purposes of revolt's / objectives. An overlord cannot have a ship under the control of a vassal, they can gift the vassal a ship (change plastic pieces for the gifted ship), this ship is now a vassal ship.
I like this; it would solve some command counter concerns. I’ll write up some rules to integrate something along these lines.


After some further thought about the issues of activating systems and tracking which Vassal ships are part of combined fleets (so they can't move a second time,) what I'm thinking is:

*Vassals continue to receive 2 command tokens in the Status Phase
*When performing a Tactical Action, a player may choose to activate a single system using their faction tactic pool, vassal tactic pool(s), or both simultaneously. If a player chooses to activate a system using only one counter, he or she may activate the same system with the other counter type later.

This would allow simultaneous action for a given system without having a vassal ship end up in a system unactivated by the vassal faction (and thus allowing the vassal ship to be moved again on its own upon another activation.) I think this works. Any thoughts?
 
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Also, I've just uploaded a pdf with the first draft for the majority of the races; I'll put up a link once it gets approved.
 
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...And here it is: first draft in pdf form for *most* of the race sheets. Note that I only have the "independent" half of the Xxcha (which I am considering completely changing to be more like the Jol-Nar, Winnu, Sardakk) and do not yet have the L1Z1X, Naalu, or Sol. Creuss and Nekro, for lore reasons, do not have 'vassal' sheets, just independent sheets.

Next: Finishing up the last few race sheets, incorporating any feedback, and creating a couple action cards.

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/157301/ti4-vassal-faction...

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G. Sullivan
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Thanks for taking a look and continuing with this, will give the pdf a read through over the break, doubt I can get it to hit the table until sometime in the new year (if I can convince the gaming group to do another few run through's of the vanilla would probably help)
 
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I'm glad to see some interest in this!

Have just uploaded an updated pdf with the rest of the races and some action & political cards. Not sure how soon before it gets approved, but hopefully it should be up and accessible soon. Edit: it’s up now!

Next up:

1. I need to get an image for the reverse of Action Cards and Agenda Cards for printing. Will probably be at least a week before I can get this scanned from my copy of TI4, as I'm out of town for the holiday.

2. Add my little "expansion icon" visible on the action & political cards to all race sheets (purely a vanity thing)

3. Incorporate any/all feedback (seriously, feedback, please!)
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Liking everything i see thumbsup
The action card for influence feels like the right cost to activate, would need to playtest to see how powerful it is, since it can immediately cause an enemy fleet to start fighting amongst itself, maybe make it a play as an action or resolve in HS first and if revolt fails then the fleet doesn't revolt (again could be worrying about nothing).

Wonder if its worthwhile to consider a secret objective for vassalizing a race.

Do you have a recommend number of vassals to players? Thinking more of a rough guideline to help people with setup, 1 less then number of players, number of players plus number of vassals should equal X type thing. Would be more of a guideline then a rule but if you have playtested would like to follow a similar number to see how the experience is.

Thanks for making this up and hopefully can get it on table n the new year
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Having a secret objective for Vassal races is a great idea. It should be most to all the vassals though.
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Just submitted a new version of the file (foolishly forgetting to re-read the comments here first, so the wording on actions cards (below)
still needs fixed.)

SU11YBEAR wrote:
The action card for influence feels like the right cost to activate, would need to playtest to see how powerful it is, since it can immediately cause an enemy fleet to start fighting amongst itself, maybe make it a play as an action or resolve in HS first and if revolt fails then the fleet doesn't revolt (again could be worrying about nothing).


Yeah, all those should have been "ACTION:...." Thanks for catching that; I'll fix it in the next update. I'm not sure about the home system first bit mainly because I do want to increase the risk of using vassal ships at least a tiny bit, but I'll keep that idea in mind as we playtest.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Wonder if its worthwhile to consider a secret objective for vassalizing a race.
rawlinsusmc wrote:
Having a secret objective for Vassal races is a great idea. It should be most to all the vassals though.

That's a really good idea, thanks!.

I've added a fairly easy-to-achieve "control 1 vassal" objective -- I worry that consistently controlling more than that may be a bit too difficult to reliably achieve, so the objective would generally get thrown out. Am interested if anyone disagrees, though.

I should perhaps note that our group *never* plays with the Imperium Rex rule, and often to 14 points; that may skew my perception of what the objective should look like.

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Do you have a recommend number of vassals to players? Thinking more of a rough guideline to help people with setup, 1 less then number of players, number of players plus number of vassals should equal X type thing. Would be more of a guideline then a rule but if you have playtested would like to follow a similar number to see how the experience is.

The idea was playercount -1, with the potential for the Lazax Survivors (if using Domain Counters) to add one additional race mid-game; so far this seems about right.
EDIT: I do need to work out some better setup rules (putting the home systems into the players' hands for placement), but still mulling about how to distribute them if it's players -1; perhaps speaker doesn't get a independent homeworld to place? Thoughts?
 
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AgentDrake wrote:

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Wonder if its worthwhile to consider a secret objective for vassalizing a race.
rawlinsusmc wrote:
Having a secret objective for Vassal races is a great idea. It should be most to all the vassals though.

That's a really good idea, thanks!.

I've added a fairly easy-to-achieve "control 1 vassal" objective -- I worry that consistently controlling more than that may be a bit too difficult to reliably achieve, so the objective would generally get thrown out. Am interested if anyone disagrees, though.

I should perhaps note that our group *never* plays with the Imperium Rex rule, and often to 14 points; that may skew my perception of what the objective should look like.


How about 1 secret and a public one per phase, tried to make them more you have to do something with a vassal rather then just controlling to encourage people to actually use them. (feel free to change the names as I haven't had my coffee yet and am trying to be creative ...)

Secret: For the Overlord!
Win a space combat in a system that contains a Vassal Ship.
You cannot score this objective if all Vassal Ships are destroyed in the combat.
(Unveil the Flagship is what this is based on)

Public 1: The Trade League
Spend a total of 2 tokens from your Vassal's Tactic and/or Strategy Pools.
(Lead from the front is the base)

Public 2: The Federation
Spend a total of 4 tokens from your Vassal's Tactic and/or Strategy Pools.
(Galvanize the People is the base)

AgentDrake wrote:

SU11YBEAR wrote:
Do you have a recommend number of vassals to players? Thinking more of a rough guideline to help people with setup, 1 less then number of players, number of players plus number of vassals should equal X type thing. Would be more of a guideline then a rule but if you have playtested would like to follow a similar number to see how the experience is.

The idea was playercount -1, with the potential for the Lazax Survivors (if using Domain Counters) to add one additional race mid-game; so far this seems about right.
EDIT: I do need to work out some better setup rules (putting the home systems into the players' hands for placement), but still mulling about how to distribute them if it's players -1; perhaps speaker doesn't get a independent homeworld to place? Thoughts?


Are you using standard setup or for example star-by-star?
If normal setup I would have everyone choose a vassal race to include (including the speaker) and randomize and place them in Ring 2 such that none of the Home systems are in direct contact (would be 2-2, 2-4, 2-6, 2-8, 2-10, 2-12 on this map), or if you want to place 5 before hand have them at 2-2, 2-4, 2-6, 1-5, 1-6, I am not a big fan of having them directly next to Mecatol but that may be something you are ok with.

I would place them randomly and save a 1 planet system before dealing tiles to replace the race chosen by the speaker (could do the reveal before or after building the map). You may want to change it

If star-by-star then I would have each player who isn't the speaker sub out a planet tile for a vassal tile, normal rules apply that gold background cannot touch unless there is no other option to place.
 
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Wow, thanks for the feedback. It's been a busy semester, so I've had little time to work on this stuff. Still, I've made some progress, and have just uploaded the next version of the file. Am working on tweaking some rules and will have a nicer version of those uploaded in the next few days as well.

SU11YBEAR wrote:

How about 1 secret and a public one per phase, tried to make them more you have to do something with a vassal rather then just controlling to encourage people to actually use them. (feel free to change the names as I haven't had my coffee yet and am trying to be creative ...)

Secret: For the Overlord!
Win a space combat in a system that contains a Vassal Ship.
You cannot score this objective if all Vassal Ships are destroyed in the combat.
(Unveil the Flagship is what this is based on)

Public 1: The Trade League
Spend a total of 2 tokens from your Vassal's Tactic and/or Strategy Pools.
(Lead from the front is the base)

Public 2: The Federation
Spend a total of 4 tokens from your Vassal's Tactic and/or Strategy Pools.
(Galvanize the People is the base)


Have done this; only thing I changed was the names (to try to line up a bit more with those in the game itself, which describe what one does, theme-wise, which is granting points).

SU11YBEAR wrote:

Are you using standard setup or for example star-by-star?

Something close to standard setup, although modified by our group. I've got some working rules mostly typed out now; basically, players will select their race from a hand of 2-3 random tiles, then choose one (or keep the remaining one) to add to their 'hand' of setup tiles. They can then place the tile as part of setup, cannot border a home system. This will (intentionally) result in a player not using their entire hand of tiles when setup ends. This should allow for some unpredictability in number of vassals and other system types. I have not tested this yet, however.
 
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New version of the rules uploaded here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=15fjVkL5HuQL0iSXyU96SrNBOQG...

The filepage has been edited accordingly.
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