Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Agenda Phase - More tension, less math rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Clayton Willey
United States
East Lansing
Michigan
flag msg tools
The Agenda Phase as it's written is great for new players. It encourages them to work with each other to achieve desirable outcomes...it drives a lot of creative negotiating and tough decisions.

But once you're used to it, it loses it's edge. Players figure out exactly who will do what, count every vote before their own, and commit as little as possible to get an outcome. If you know you're going to lose, you commit nothing. If you know you're going to win, you commit nothing. Most players go into the second vote with their full set of planet cards.

What I've heard suggested is trying something a little closer to the Game Of Thrones board game style of voting. How it works:
- Reveal Agenda
- Discuss, negotiate, transactions, etc
- Voting. At the same time:
--- Each player SECRETLY chooses a number of planet cards to vote with
--- Then, each player reveals the planets they committed while simultaneously indicating their desired outcome (point at player / planet; or thumbs up / down)
--- Speaker still breaks ties
--- For the purpose of binding deals, this voting can be considered "immediately fulfill-able" when making deals after an agenda is revealed

Voting would be so much more dramatic. You have to pick your votes before anyone else has committed to anything. You can't really be sure how your neighbors will vote...no one could really feel safe that BAD outcomes won't happen. Deals are much more important, and holding onto trade goods / commodities for the agenda phase would be greatly rewarded (which mirrors TI3 requiring you to hold on to Influence for the Politics step).

Has anyone tried anything along these lines? I know I've heard it a few times. What might go wrong?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
NFHS Football & Basketball
badge
Dread Our Coming, Suffer Our Presence, Embrace Our Glory (Solonavi War Cry)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There was another thread with a similar idea. The one major issue I have with this is that it significantly reduces the power of the Speaker during voting. While it's true that picking Strategy cards first is a big power, the ability to vote last is a pretty important role, particularly in TI4's version where they know what they need to commit or not.

Plus, it can affect the way that binding transactions related to voting could work. With the rules-as-written system, you can make a binding deal of "I'll give you X if you vote Y influence towards outcome Z", because the vote and the payment can be simultaneous. With the new system, since you have to choose in secret and then reveal, you can't have such binding deals. You could still make the deal, of course, but by rule it wouldn't be binding anymore. I think it would reduce the bargaining and bribing that goes on during voting.

Honestly, in my experience with TI4 thus far (about 5 games), having everyone skip out on the first vote to save their planets for the second depends entirely upon what the actual agenda is for the first one. I've seen several votes where most of the players are mostly empty for the second vote because the first one was so lucrative.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clayton Threadgill
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
AGoT's secret bids are quick and easy because every vote is "elect player" and every player is voting for themselves. The only information added during the bid is how much influence they are willing to spend. It gets tricky when you add more steps.

Asking players to "secretly" choose planet cards is tricky as well. Are you wanting everyone to take all of their planets off the table, and then split them up to indicate which planets are voting, then keep them hidden until votes are revealed?

I suppose what you are looking for is a way to have everyone commit influence simultaneously, but then reveal the vote sequentially.

As long as we're house-ruling, let's go one more step and separate the influence from the actual planets to make the bidding process easier. We'll also save some wear-and-tear on the planet cards by not having to exhaust them in this phase.

So something like this:

-----

- At the start of the agenda phase, each player collects tokens equal to their total available votes (since trade goods can be part of this round, I recommend using infantry or fighter tokens).

- The first agenda is reveal and read as usual. Players may negotiate, and riders may be played until the speaker calls the vote.

- Once the speaker calls the vote, voting is a closed blind bid using the vote tokens.
--- Each player announces how many votes they have available.
--- Each player hides their tokens under the table.
--- Each player presents a closed fist above the table containing the number of tokens they plan to spend on the current agenda.
--- Starting from the left of the speaker, each player announces what they are voting for.
--- All fists are opened at the same time, and the total votes for each outcome added together.

- The second agenda is reveal and voted on using the same steps.

- After the second agenda is resolved, unspent vote tokens are returned to the reserve.

edit:
sigmazero13 wrote:
Honestly, in my experience with TI4 thus far (about 5 games), having everyone skip out on the first vote to save their planets for the second depends entirely upon what the actual agenda is for the first one. I've seen several votes where most of the players are mostly empty for the second vote because the first one was so lucrative.

For the record, this is my experience as well. I'm fine with how votes are done in the official rules. I just wanted to work out these details as a mental exercise.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clayton Willey
United States
East Lansing
Michigan
flag msg tools
I agree that the basic rules are pretty good. It does produce a lot of interesting situations.

But it was the main part of the game that was often dry, with several players getting bored. So I'm really looking for ways to inject more tension and drama.

I see what the other Clayton is saying...the amount of complexity that is already there is a lot, and adding more is non-trivial. I want this to be simple. And I want people to be rather uncertain of the outcome, right up until the final vote is cast.

So let's try this instead. Do the basic Agenda phase, just like normal...but when you vote, you announce how many planets you're exhausting for your chosen outcome...but not how many votes they produce. Planets have a range of possible influence values, and the extent of your support is somewhat unclear.

After the last player votes, everyone reveals the amount of votes their committed planets produced. Votes are tallied, and outcomes determined. The opportunity for backstabbing is still present, and there's a bit more uncertainty.

So what extra stuff does this require to manage effectively? You still need to keep your neighbors from peeking at the planet cards that you're voting with, and the ones you've held back. Simplest way to deal with this that I can think of is placing a green tech card on top of the pile of cards used for voting, and a red tech card on top of the uncommitted planets. Then other players can't really see what you're doing...except for roughly how many planets you've committed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Federico C.
Australia
Queensland
flag msg tools
mb
I had proposed something like this a while ago in the Reddit forums. Here's a recap:

* when the Custodian token is removed from Mecatol Rex, the Custodian draws 5 cards from the Agenda deck. These cards are placed face-up on the table and are available for reading (possibly place them so they don't get mixed with laws - i would put them next to the speaker token personally, with laws right under objectives). This is a take on the 'docket' variant that some groups use.
* during the Agenda phase, the Speaker selects one card from the docket and reads it aloud. Phase proceeds as normal until the Voting step.
* during the Voting phase, players secretly pull counters from their reinforcements and hold them in their hand. At the speaker's order, all players express their vote (thumbs up/down, pointing, naming) and reveal the tokens (flag=1, CC=5). They MUST exhaust planets to fullfill their vote cost.
* Speaker resolves ties and declares final result. Then, he draws a new card from the Agenda deck and adds it to the docket, selecting a second card to be voted on.
* proceed as earlier, draw new card after effect is resolved so that the docket always contains 5 cards.
* refresh planets and move to the strategy phase.
* Political SC is unchanged (still allows for sneaky laws to be drawn mid-phase), and so is Xxcha's ability (potentially forcing the Speaker to reveal his hand ahead of time and countering Political).

It addresses the lack of power for the speaker, if that was an issue. I had some feedback from people who tried it and it seems like it went well (https://www.reddit.com/r/twilightimperium/comments/7hdkox/my...), but of course it's not perfect.
As of now i'm starting to find issues with players who tend to run out of Command Counters.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Lippert
Canada
Unspecified
Ontario
flag msg tools
The real culprit here is the vote splitting. The simple solution is to implement a rule where when a player votes they vote with all of their planets influence. So if you take the first agenda you are out on the other ones.

Also play with 3 agendas for a 5-6 player game.

This was my groups house rule for TI3. It works great.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Maskius Rivia
msg tools
mb
I am a huge fan of the house-rule the OP describes.

It took us 2 games of TI4 to realize the voting system was somewhat tame. It was better than TI3, but with this little house-rule it is a lot more fun.

It was not only the Speaker that had a massive advantage and could often decide the outcome of an agenda with very few votes (mostly just 1) or abstain and save all votes for the second agenda, but also the player right before the speaker could easily predict whether his contribution would matter or not.

Besides, the Speaker token is so powerful in itself, that we really don't think he needs the massive voting advantage.
Getting to pick SC first and gaining 2 AC and knowing the agendas beforehand (from the Politics SC, since people always point to themselves) is more than enough power in one SC. In our opinion anyways.
Have you ever seen the Politics card with a TG?
He still breaks ties by the way.

Regarding the logistics of voting secretly - just write it on a piece of paper and present it in a closed hand.

We have much more deal making, bribery and bluffing now. Since we are house-ruling the exact wording on binding deals becomes irrelevant. The wording on deals changes with a secret voting system - it will be "I will give you 4 TG if you help me win this or vote for this planet with 5 votes. The conclusion of the deal happens when the outcome is decided or the condition met - First example, the player won = transaction concludes. Second example, player used 5 votes to vote for planet, condition met = transaction concludes.

I may be bad at explaining, but it is rather simple and a lot of fun. Backstabbing is abundant in our group "Sure, I will vote for you for 4 TG". Or not! No deal is binding until condition met. Kinda like real politics, yes?

Anyways, I am writing blocks here - I apologize. But we have been playing TI since the release of 3rd edition 12-13 years ago and the spicing up of the voting process in the game (we had a different approach in TI3, but still same concept) is most likely one of our best house rules. And I would suggest people at least try it.

Amazing forum by the way.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
PK Levine
United States
Rossville
GA
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
People keep proposing this house rule, and I keep disagreeing with it. It completely undervalues the role of Speaker, which is a huge part of TI4. Yes, breaking ties is nice, but the real power of the Speaker in the agenda phase is going last.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Maskius Rivia
msg tools
mb
I agree that Speaker has some real power in the Agenda phase, so much in fact that some felt it warranted this house-rule

Voting by the rules in TI4, gives a massive advantage to the Speaker and the advantage degrades for each player to his right.

Knowing how many votes your opponents (or allies) have committed, before you cast yours is an insane advantage - thats why it doesnt work that way in real world political proccesses.

Give the Speaker token some free votes value, if you need to power it up, but do yourself a favor and try the simultaneous voting at one point. It really makes it alot more fun - each agenda will be totally up for grabs for everyone and there can be alot of bluffing, dealing, backstabbing and all that fun stuff









1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ser Frederick
Canada
flag msg tools
Yeah, the agenda phase is pretty boring right now, with people always voting all or nothing. The speaker is strong enough without going last on voting.

Another way you could do it is have each player, starting left of the speaker announce which way they will vote on the agenda, or abstain. Then, each player simultaneously casts an undisclosed number of votes for that agenda, with each player revealing at the same time.

This way, you know how people will vote, but you don't know how many votes they will commit.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.