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Xia: Legends of a Drift System» Forums » Variants

Subject: New Weapon: Space-Mines rss

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Randy D

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So here is what I have developed and am testing so far. I'll be posting the results and files when I am done testing if anyone else wants to add them to their game. Any thoughts/suggestions?

SPACE-MINES
----------------------

MATERIALS:
30 tokens (5/8") with image of space-mine on one side
- 20 Hits (have damage icon on reverse side)
- 10 Miss (are blank on reverse side)

PURCHASE:
During their Business Phase, a player may spend $2KcR to randomly draw 3 tokens (ie. Mine Pack) and stack them face down on an available hold space in their ship. This purchase may be made multiple times. Players can rearrange these Mine Packs within their hold, but cannot mix mines from one pack into another pack*. Mine Packs may be removed from the ship during the Business Phase but will only provide the player $1KcR per full Pack removed. Players may peek at the reverse side of the mines in their hold at any time.

DEPLOYMENT:
As a minor action on their turn, a player may place any of their purchased face-down mines onto the space their ship currently occupies, provided that space contains nothing else and is neither a Major Action space (ex. scavenge, buy/sell, ...) nor a Mission Point.

INTERACTION:
Any ship (including the ship that initially deployed the mine) that enters a space with a mine must, as a Minor Action, reveal that mine by flipping the token face up. If the mine is a miss, the token is discarded and the player continues their turn. If it is a hit, the player must place the mine token with the damage side face up onto their ship hull (ie. no armor plating or cargo pods). This is considered unblockable damage. For every tier level above 1 of the damaged ship, the mine damage must be adjacent to another damaged hold space, adding extra standard damage as necessary. For example, if a Tier 3 ship hits a mine that does damage, then that mine damage is placed on the hull and 2 more damage markers are placed adjacent to that mine damage. If this is not possible, then the player meets this requirement as closely as possible. No credit is awarded to the player who deployed a mine that causes the destruction of a ship. NPC ships avoid mines if at all possible, but if not possible, then damage is applied to the NPC based on the NPC tier equivalent.

ATTACKING:
A player may attempt to shoot down a mine using their weapons. An attack is considered a hit if the rolled value is greater than half the die max. For example, if a player attempts to destroy a mine using a level 2 blaster (D8), they need to roll a value of 5 or greater. If the attack is successful, the mine is discarded.

DESTRUCTION:
If a cargo hold containing mines is damaged, the mines are discarded.

----------------------------
RATIONALE:
- Decoy mines (misses) are included among the hits in order to add an element of risk and uncertainty as well as bluffing. They also provide strategic opportunities such as detouring NPCs or using dud mines to make certain routes less desirable for others until you decide to travel that route. I made the ratio favor hits so that players are still more cautious about simply risking a run through a mine and also beacause as more mines are placed on ships to denote hits, there won't be as many hits to draw from until the ship is repaired and they are returned to the pool.

- Random drawing of tokens is to add the element of chance that you might not get everything you want as well as not give opponents a clear idea of what predictive players may have.

- The sellback of the 3 drawn mines for half price is not only consistent with existing game rules, but essentially permits players to redraw the mines (if they didn't get what they want) at a cost of $1KcR, adding a bit of press-your-luck (draw 3 mines for $2KcR, sell them back for $1KcR, re-draw 3 new mines for $2KcR) without adding any additional rules.

- Moving mines from one pack to another pack in the cargo hold is not permitted in order to avoid potential exploits involving selling full packs back.

- Preventing mines from being placed on spaces where major actions are performed or mission points helps to avoid game-breaking exploits.

- Determining a hit based on the underside of the mine token and treating it as unblockable means no damage or shield rolls = simple & quick. I wanted mines to stay relevant throughout the game and so I considered various ways to scale their threat to larger ships. Adding damage equal to the ship's tier was simple but made things scale too much. So I modified this rule by requiring the mine damage to be adjacent to other damage. This means the first time a ship is hit, they get damaged equal to their tier level, but then later hits are mitigated by the adjacency requirement. This also can add another depth to the decision where to place damage.

- I didn't want players to have no recourse but to ram into mines if a lane is blocked, so it makes sense they can shoot them down. I didn't want it to be overly difficult to shoot them, but also wanted it to take some effort so they don't simply mow down a well placed series of mines. I wanted to make sure this remained a fairly equal threat to all players regardless of the level of their weapon outfits. For this reason I give players a slightly less than 50% chance of taking one down and this risk involves using up precious energy & activation markers. To accomplish this I simply required a die roll of greater than whatever half the total die is.

- If a cargo hold containing mines is damaged I toyed around with either simply discarding the mines or forcing that player to distribute any of those mines that are hits onto their ship adjacent to this current cargo spot (or as close as possible) and discarding any misses. I could go either way on this right now. The first idea is simple & quick and has the cost of losing the mines. The second idea adds an extra level of threat that seems thematic and fitting of a player carrying active mines in their cargo hold.
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Cody Miller
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This is so cool Randy! I think you've done a really great job thinking through this, and I look forward to people's feedback on how it plays!
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Jo Blogs
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Are there any assets (mine tokens, rules card) available?

I note that there is an alternative Mine system in the file are of BGG Xia with both damage and EMP mines with printable mines. Whilst it has the 2 different damage types, what it does not have is the draw mechanic of different types of mines, or the ability to shoot them out.

 
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Randy D

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jaffab wrote:
Are there any assets (mine tokens, rules card) available?

I note that there is an alternative Mine system in the file are of BGG Xia with both damage and EMP mines with printable mines. Whilst it has the 2 different damage types, what it does not have is the draw mechanic of different types of mines, or the ability to shoot them out.

I do not have any finished assets to upload at this time -- I wanted to test out the idea before spending more time polishing up the assets because I don't want to waste time if it turns out to be a flop.

Yes, there are assets available for a variant that utilizes mines and I noticed that, but only after I had already been developing out my idea. BGG user LienRag99 made those and he did a very nice job of it. However, since my vision went in a different direction I continued working on it.

As I developed this idea further, these were my prerequisites for a space-mine variant:

1) No added time/complexity to game
This was my primary focus. The downtime between turns is one of the potentially largest issues I could have with the game and so any new mine variant, no matter how cool and thematic it might be, cannot add extra complexity and/or noticeable increase in delay between turns.

2) No dice rolling
Don't get me wrong, this mechanic is useful in this game, but it starts to lose its appeal when I am rolling for everything and with additional die rolls I feel less like I am playing the game and more like the game is playing me. Also, this mechanic does add time to the turn delay as well (see prerequisite #1).

3) Mines cannot feel like just another weapon
I didn't want the mines to feel similar to blasters or missiles as though they are just another weapon in your repertoire of violence. I wanted them to feel like something different that could be used to enhance a piracy strategy or could also be used to enhance other strategies. I saw them more like those *star-shaped spikes deployed on the road to pop tires of other cards -- they are not intended to destroy but rather to hinder or deter. To this end, I didn't want their damage potential to be super-destructive (especially since a field of mines could be deployed making areas impassable), which is why I settled on 1 damage per mine (which grows along with Tier level). 1 damage is still tough when space on a small ship is precious (as well as the cost of repairs when money is tight) and so it's a risk assessment if the player wants to take the hit or not.

4) This should introduce a new experience into the game
I wanted this to feel like it introduces something fresh & new into the game and the introduction of the dud mines adds that direct bluffing/risk element that is not really present elsewhere. Not knowing if an opponent is placing dud mines in your path hoping you'll take a longer route or waste time/energy shooting at them ... or if they really are hits that will do damage.

Scrapped Ideas:
- I liked the idea of some mines doing different thing, like energy drain or deactivation or even applying different amounts of damage as depicted on the reverse side. However, this all seemed to add complexity to something I was trying to keep simple so I held off on that for now.

- Someone suggested the idea of a new Mine Deployer outfit that you need to buy first. While this is a fun thematic approach, it seemed to complicate things in the game as well as testing and seemed like it would deter people from even using this variant, unless the mines were crazy powerful to make the added cost of a new outfit and cargo space on top of buying mines worthwhile. This also required more components to be made up and not everyone has access to that.


* Did you know those star-shaped spikes are called "Caltrops" and were used as far back as 53BC by the Romans to slow advancements of enemy troops (on foot, horses, or elephants)? I didn't either, until I researched for this variant.
 
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Randy D

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Another reason why in order to blow up a mine I required a result greater than half of the die value is because this doesn't impact my favorite houserule (for any outfit activation, you can choose to either roll or simply take a result half of the die value).

Granted, I mostly prefer this houserule just for engine activations, but for those who use it for all outfits you cannot simply use this houserule to blow up mines -- you have to roll if you want to try shooting them down.
 
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Paul Robertson
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So a mine = 1 dmg to T1, 2 dmg to T2, and 3 dmg to T3?

 
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Randy D

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mcwaffle wrote:
So a mine = 1 dmg to T1, 2 dmg to T2, and 3 dmg to T3?

Yes and no.

Technically a mine does 1 damage, and the mine token is used to indicate that damage on the ship by placing it with damage side face up. However, for a Tier 2 ship it must be placed adjacent to at least 1 other damaged space and for a Tier 3 ship it must be placed adjacent to at least 2 other damaged spaces. If you place the mine damage according to this rule, then it is only 1 damage you are adding to your ship. However, if you cannot or choose not to place the mine damage according to this rule, then extra damage needs to be added in accordance with this rule.

Therefore, if you are in a Tier 3 ship with no existing damage, then adjacent to the mine damage you would add 2 extra damage markers. If this same ship then runs into a second mine, you only need to add this 1 mine damage to your Tier 3 ship if you place it adjacent to the existing damage on your ship.

I wanted a simple and quick mechanism for dealing damage and so first thought of the 1 damage, using the mine token to denote that damage. This had the benefit of simplicity but didn't seem to scale well for the bigger ships. A larger ship had more cargo space to afford plowing through well placed mines, rendering them obsolete in the mid-to-late game. I then thought of dealing damage equal to the Tier (as you described in your question). This was also a simple solution that maintained a threat level throughout the entire game, however, it seemed to scale up too quickly and become too powerful for the larger ships that hit multiple mines in succession. I wanted something somewhere in between--the threat to make players think twice before ramming a mine, but also doesn't quickly blow up a ship if a player decides to intentionally ram several to get through a blockade of them--but was still as simple as I could make it (no complex rules or calculations to determine damage). So I had this idea of damage adjacency (thematically the mines cause tears in the hull and so continue existing damage or create large tears on their own) and thought it was a happy medium to what I was trying to accomplish. Testing will prove that out or not.
 
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