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I spent some time trying to conceive of a slightly offsetting factor for the "heavy luck" complaint that some people have about this game. BTW... I should preface this with the fact that I don't mind the level of luck in the game (but some who play with me do).

Here is what I came up with:

* When you play your set to make a draw... place the cards face up beside the board.
* If you draw and establish a base of your own... discard the card(s) (as per the normal rules).
* If you draw another player's token, pick up one of the cards in your set. Repeat this each time you draw an opponent's token.

What this does is make sure that... while you are weakening your opponent's position on the planet... you are not left with NO cards in your hand to make a subsequent play on the planet.

If you get a chance... let me know what you think!
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1 Lucky Texan
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Played with your variant in addition to 'start player gets 2 instead of 3 actions'-variant.

Things went OK - thing is, there are times when, taking the card back just ins't all that important. Suppose it's the 3rd satellite? You're done with that planet and the card may not be useful. Could also be that you need to turn your attention to other planets, etc.

One idea I had, perhaps slightly increase the value of earth-bound bases a little, but certainly give some value to unused planet bases. maybe 2 points on earth and 3 or 4 on a planet. That way, at the end, scores might be a little closer. Since it costs 'melds' or a transport card to move bases to the planets, it certainly seems like they should have MORE value than an earth base.
 
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1 Lucky Texan
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OK, the obvious way to make the idea work better is to allow taking a card back on a failed attempt OPTIONAL.
 
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