Hi all. Prior to our last game we had talk about current activation ruleset which resulted in some kind of "houserule brainstorming" that eventually lead to this variant. Usually I am against houserules but in this particularly case I am surprised how well this affected our game so I think it is worth creating topic about it and share this experience.
Let's summarize my gaming group views - this is how we see game so far:
- original ruleset does not give player enought freedom
- new difficulty levels patched orignal ruleset flaw via "High Alert" and "Activation Variant"
- "High Alert" in combination with "Activation Variant" is too powerful
- "Activation Variant" penalty is weak
- moral track's progress towards zero is too slow
- we have never draw red moral card
- captain's cards are weak
- sinking enemy ship at full moral gives no positive effect
- slightly offtopic: many (BGG) players uses ongoing orders for periscope and hydrophone
Taken all above in consideration we have tasked ourself with following goal: to link "Activation Variant" directly with "Morale Track" and make it more punishing.
Use "High Alert" as usual. Replace current "Activation Variant" in following manner:
- dedicate some table space for another activation token pile; let's call this pile "Stress Pile"
- a fully activated sailor can always execute order; when such sailor activates place one activation token in "Stress Pile" if he is specialized in task or two if he is not
- a fully activated sailor can execute ongoing orders by replacing activation token with proper busy token and place one activation token in "Stress Pile" if he is specialized in task or two if he is not
- you may use each gained moral point to remove activation token from "Stress Pile" instead of improving current morale state
- slightly offtopic: if you use ongoing orders for periscope and hydrophone put one activation token in "Stress Pile" each time you get back to its view in app
- at the end of the watch but before shift swaps clear "Stress Pile" in following manner: start moving morale token right towards space 0:
- - for each yellow space moved (spaces 11 - 8) remove 2 activation tokens from "Stress Pile"
- - for each orange space moved (spaces 7 - 4) remove 4 activation tokens from "Stress Pile"
- - for each red space moved (spaces 3 - 0) remove 8 activation tokens from "Stress Pile"
Playing this way (obviously) overstressing your crew will result in drawing more morale cards, so morale becomes bigger factor; having said that, captain cards have more of use. Note that the better shape you are in, the more morale drop you'll get; on contrary, if you are in bad shape this method is more forgiving - for example: at step 3 of moral track you can make 16 overstresed actions.
- you can literally lose the game from overstressing your sailors
- one activation token in "Stress Pile" results in minimum of 1 morale step penalty
- since every moral step has its threshold this method introduces another calculation level in decision making
- siniking enemy ships while having "full health" can be used to clear "Stress Pile"
- slightly offtopic: this method nerfs ongoing orders for periscope and hydrophone
- it is plain and simple
We have played only one mission this way so far. I am aware that every variant needs (intense) testing to expose both positive and negative aspects of it and that one game is too small sample, but so far this variant resulted in more challenging and thoughtful game (at least for us).
Feel free to comment and share your opinions.
Sounds interesting. Might try it after I put the game out again once the app is updated-
I tried a simple rule last time and didn't look too bad:
- Use the overactivation rules, with the catch that the activation token does not reset between watches, so it will eventually reach a position left to the morale tracker and block an order space.
- Ignore overactivation rules: instead, morale increases over the limit grant an equivalent number of extra orders. This way doing things right has a prize, once you are more limited on the number of orders which you can issue and the risk of lowering morale is higher without the high alert patch.