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Star Trek: Ascendancy» Forums » Variants

Subject: Attempting to mitigate "luck of the draw" when exploring rss

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Matt Price
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Over in the Borg forums, someone posted an idea to keep one player from getting slammed by Borg cards, by dividing up the Exploration deck and giving each player a set amount of Borg cards to shuffle in to their deck.

fixpix wrote:
One possible solution is to split the Encounter deck by number of players and give each one their own deck, with a certain number of Borg cards to shuffle in, after the first 2 cards. This way the chances of encountering the Borg are evened out between players and making the lucky ones more likely to encounter them.


I love this idea, but think it would be excellent even in non-Borg games. Divide up the decks so that each player has about the same amount of "good" and "bad" cards (and perhaps even allow players to put two or three random "good" cards on the top of their deck, to assure they aren't knee-capped right at the start) in their own individual exploration deck.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Think this wouldn't work? Or would be excellent?
 
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Mattias Elfström
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I like the idea.

That said I don't think it will have much effect unless further refined. I'm also not sure it is needed.

STA is mostly "self balancing" in the sense that it is a negotiation game. Any temporary leader should be reined in by the rivals.

Also there are far more exploration cards in the deck than will be drawn in a typical game. This means there will be a lot of randomness within each deck if you split the deck between players. Some may draw all "their" crisis while others draw "their" discoveries.
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Jon Snow
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I don't like the idea, because all "good" or "bad" cards are not created equal, and any one card may have totally disproportionate effects in any particular game, just as if you hadn't bothered all of that extra mixing. But give it a try, and let us know how it worked.
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Davon Collins
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Would this be more aesthetically pleasing if it were blue?
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My only concern with giving each player their own non-Borg deck is that it would advantage slower explorers. Right now, there are trade-offs to exploring - do I replace that ship destroyed in the nebula and use it to explore more somewhere or do I use that production to develop a colony. Normally, if you choose to develop more than explore, you run the risk of being left exploring in more dangerous space (more phenomena if you follow the standard rules, or Borg risk if you're playing that expansion). So you might decide to leave a colonizable planet be so that you can explore more while it's still safe.

However,if you knew that you had personally had a safe deck no one else could access, the calculus for develop vs. explore would shift. You could safely develop more, *then* go out and explore in safe space.

So I think my preference would still be to have a single deck of Exploration cards and a single stack of systems with a certain number of non-Borg (and/or non-phenomena, if you prefer) cards/systems. That way, players can see what the other players are doing and adjust accordingly. "Oh, man, the Federation are burning through the Exploration deck like crazy, so I better explore now while I can!" "People are exploring cautiously, so I have time to build a lab on this colony rather than explore." And so on.
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Rich Stokes
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Having played games where one player was effectively put out of the running by having all their ships destroyed on both the first 2 turns by a combination of hazardous systems and crisis cards, yes, this needs fixing somehow.

I'm still not 100% certain what the fix is though, they all have drawbacks, but RAW has presented my group with some really unsatisfactory games in the past.
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Michael Cyr
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Mattias wrote:
STA is mostly "self balancing" in the sense that it is a negotiation game. Any temporary leader should be reined in by the rivals.

The problem is that, while this may be true for a "temporary leader," it does not work so well for a player who gets unlucky and falls far behind everyone else. Sure, other players may be more willing to work/trade with that faction, since they're not much of a threat, but I don't feel that this is sufficient to rebalance things equally.
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Mattias Elfström
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mikecyr wrote:
Mattias wrote:
STA is mostly "self balancing" in the sense that it is a negotiation game. Any temporary leader should be reined in by the rivals.

The problem is that, while this may be true for a "temporary leader," it does not work so well for a player who gets unlucky and falls far behind everyone else. Sure, other players may be more willing to work/trade with that faction, since they're not much of a threat, but I don't feel that this is sufficient to rebalance things equally.

I agree that this can be a problem. The reason for the problem, however is that the other players are not experienced enough to recognise the situation. In many of our games someone suddenly wins. After such games many players realise that should have acted against the leader earlier. Often you actually need to act before the leader is in the lead

Great game!
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Tyrell Wood
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This is a space exploration and combat game. If one player just draws unlucky things isn't that kind of what the intent is. Sometimes its just not your day and you lose all your troops. It can be a set back but honestly I think it is life. I mean so what. Play again and have a blast watching someone else draw all borg cards. It is quite entertaining really and I do not think this is broken. This game tries to give you the flavor as if you were actually exploring space and ran into a bunch of bad things. Its part of the game design and it is meant to be that way.
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Matt Price
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tyrellrwood wrote:
This is a space exploration and combat game. If one player just draws unlucky things isn't that kind of what the intent is. Sometimes its just not your day and you lose all your troops. It can be a set back but honestly I think it is life. I mean so what. Play again and have a blast watching someone else draw all borg cards. It is quite entertaining really and I do not think this is broken. This game tries to give you the flavor as if you were actually exploring space and ran into a bunch of bad things. Its part of the game design and it is meant to be that way.


RichKS wrote:
Having played games where one player was effectively put out of the running by having all their ships destroyed on both the first 2 turns by a combination of hazardous systems and crisis cards, yes, this needs fixing somehow.

I'm still not 100% certain what the fix is though, they all have drawbacks, but RAW has presented my group with some really unsatisfactory games in the past.


I get where you're both coming from, but definitely lean towards RichKS's point of view. I won't get to play this often (I've had it for nearly a year, and it has yet to hit the table!), so one bad game means it may never come out again. I suspect I'll opt for this variant, and let folks know how it comes out.
 
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Rich Stokes
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An easier (to implement) solution might be as follows:

Safe Neighbourhood: The first 2 (or maybe 3?) systems attached directly to a player's home system never generate crisis cards. Just shuffle those back into the deck.

You could extend the same rule to Borg cards if you're using those: reshuffle any Borg cards which appear on systems directly connected to a player's home system.
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Matt Price
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D'oh! You my friend, are a stable genius! I'm using your "safe neighborhood" idea, and for those first two systems, "bad" cards will be reshuffled back into the deck
 
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Adam Warpinski
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RichKS wrote:
An easier (to implement) solution might be as follows:

Safe Neighbourhood: The first 2 (or maybe 3?) systems attached directly to a player's home system never generate crisis cards. Just shuffle those back into the deck.

You could extend the same rule to Borg cards if you're using those: reshuffle any Borg cards which appear on systems directly connected to a player's home system.


This is how we play the first round, also we play with extra resources to reduce the impact of losing a ship.
 
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