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Subject: Battle for the Galaxy rss

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Josh Riley
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Any thoughts on expansion cards that allow you to mess with your opponents and allow for a more interactive game? I bet there is a thread on BGG about this but i haven't found it. Here are some off the top of my head (haven't play tested):


Telepath World
type: world
cost: 5
vps: 2
[I]: After each explore phase, look at one opponents full hand and take one of their cards into your hand.


Rebel Insane Asylum
type: world
cost: 7
vps: 0
[III]: Conquer one opponent's military world from their tableau using your military power (if greater). Transfer to your own tableau.


Imperial Death Star
type: world
cost: 8
vps: 3
[*]: Play at the end of the game to destory one world from each of your opponents tableaus.


Traveling Galactic Salesman
type: dev
cost: 5
vps: 1
[III]: At end of settle phase, swap one world from your tableau with another world of equal or lesser value from an opponent's tableau. Goods transfer as well.


Black Hole Generator
type: dev
cost: 4
vps: 1
[IV] Nullifies all opponents Consume activities for one round only. One time use.


Tractor Beam
type: dev
cost: 5
vps: 0
[V]: At end of each production round, transfer any one good from one opponent to a windfall world in your tableau, or take good into your hand if no open windfall.


Galactic Imperial Taxman
type: dev
cost: 5
vps: 3
[$]: Collect tax of 1 card from each oppenent on any consume-trade transactions.

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Rob Neuhaus
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Of these cards, I like the black hole generator and the taxman the most. Perhaps the black hole generator should also force some goods to be discarded? Otherwise, it doesn't do much in a non-two player game, it just costs you some cards and extends the game (I guess if there is also a settle in the same phase, it could be useful). I like that the card doesn't specifically target an opponent, which seems to fit best with the theme. It seems like there is a lot of Citadels influence to your suggestions .
 
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Chris Tyler
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How about

Telepath Guild
Type: Development
Cost: 5
vps: 2
Opponent must reveal role choice first. May be nullified by Research Labs or by placement of one's own Telepath Guild.

And for black hole generator, I would like it to consume all their goods, but for no points.

[Edit: Added comment about black hole generator]


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B C Z
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Though I applaud the enthusiasm, I shudder at the words (haven't play tested). Let me voice some concerns.

yoshele wrote:
Any thoughts on expansion cards that allow you to mess with your opponents and allow for a more interactive game? I bet there is a thread on BGG about this but i haven't found it. Here are some off the top of my head (haven't play tested):


Telepath World
type: world
cost: 5
vps: 2
[I]: After each explore phase, look at one opponents full hand and take one of their cards into your hand.

So this effectively nullifies one player's Explore phase (unless they chose the +1/+1 option or are drawing extra cards from the phase through other powers) AND gives you knowledge of everything in their hand. Far too powerful for 5 measley cards. First, it means I can call Explore/+5 and see 7 cards, keep 1, and then look at an opponent's hand (see X) and keep ANOTHER.

Broken no matter hwo you slice it.

Quote:
Rebel Insane Asylum
type: world
cost: 7
vps: 0
[III]: Conquer one opponent's military world from their tableau using your military power (if greater). Transfer to your own tableau.

COST means you didn't have to conquer it yourself, so at least this isn't automatic -- but, it gives a tableau tempo swing of +2 (they lose one, you gain one) and will push a World dropping plan that's already going to be bolstered by Improved Logistics into overdrive. The REBEL keyword doesn't help, as it means it's worth points from Galactic IMPERIUM.


Quote:
Imperial Death Star
type: world
cost: 8
vps: 3
[*]: Play at the end of the game to destory one world from each of your opponents tableaus.

First, lets not get sued by Lucasfilm.
Seconds, the power is interesting, but again, that's a massive VP swing if you destroy someone else's 6 or 7 point world.


Quote:

Traveling Galactic Salesman
type: dev
cost: 5
vps: 1
[III]: At end of settle phase, swap one world from your tableau with another world of equal or lesser value from an opponent's tableau. Goods transfer as well.

First, all Devs have an intrinsic VP of 1/2 (round up) of their cost, so this would be a 3 VP. That may change in the future, but for now, it's a formula that seems pretty solid.
Second, the tableau tempo shift isn't bad, but the term 'value' scares me a bit. Is that VP value, defense, cost, some combination, do powers and goods add to 'value'?

Quote:

Black Hole Generator
type: dev
cost: 4
vps: 1
[IV] Nullifies all opponents Consume activities for one round only. One time use.

1) VP cost incorrect based on above
2) One time use means you discard it, right? That means it recycles into the deck. As a minor improvement, there'd be TWO of these in the deck. Who has to declare they're going first if there are two? How does timing rules work (where the lower number planet runs their consumption first?
Finally, many cards are value-balanced to being able to consume. Having even one of these in the deck really hoses that balance.
Interesting idea, but this concerns me greatly.

Quote:

Tractor Beam
type: dev
cost: 5
vps: 0
[V]: At end of each production round, transfer any one good from one opponent to a windfall world in your tableau, or take good into your hand if no open windfall.

Effectively nullifying the choice of 'Produce' for someone who only has a windfall.
It's also directed only at one other player, which makes it powerful in a two player, and relatively weaker (leading to kingmakering) in larger games.
If you removed the 'interactive' element and made it:
V: Produce on Windfall OR draw one card.
Then I like it.

Quote:
Galactic Imperial Taxman
type: dev
cost: 5
vps: 3
[$]: Collect tax of 1 card from each oppenent on any consume-trade transactions.

That's interesting.
The Black Market Trading World and Trade League are exempt (those are Consume powers), which makes sense - why would either pay taxes?
Since this is a minor deveopment, there would be two in the deck, each nullifying the other but in a 4+ player game, it would hose those trading for low values (novelty or rare earth) since they would be taxed twice.
For that reason, I would make it less destructive and say that you draw an income from the deck for each IV/$ action selected. Otherwise, people with low valued goods would get very hosed.

---

I understand your desire is to make things 'more interactive' - but does the game really need to make it possible to prevent someone from having a chance at winning for you to have fun?

Remember, any of these could be used against you as well - and I'm fairly certain that if someone had
Telepath World
and
Taxman

out against you that you'd be wondering how to get any cards and get very frustrated with the game.

As the rules and cards currently stand, you can always make forward progress. Put in too many 'screw you' elements and that fun aspect will go away, leaving one player who lucked into the 'screwage' cards to be the one who wins the game.

If you're going to do that, spin a bottle, declare them the winner and then play without all the extra 'interaction'.
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Ken B.
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Quote:
but does the game really need to make it possible to prevent someone from having a chance at winning for you to have fun?





No, but if someone gets ahead of you or has a problematic combination of cards, it would be nice to be able to do something about it. Same problem I have with San Juan, actually. (Library + Quarry + Carpenter? Wheeeeeee!)


 
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franklincobb wrote:
Quote:
but does the game really need to make it possible to prevent someone from having a chance at winning for you to have fun?





No, but if someone gets ahead of you or has a problematic combination of cards, it would be nice to be able to do something about it. Same problem I have with San Juan, actually. (Library + Quarry + Carpenter? Wheeeeeee!)




By that point, the game is almost over. The thing to do is to finish out and play another round.

It's like saying there should be more space than 12 slots or more VPs in the pool than 12*players. All it does is extend the game.

I know that if I got hit with the inability to do ANYTHING due to other players cards (can't draw on Explore, Joe gets it, can't trade, Mary and John get those cards... fun!) that I would have been turned off by this game immediately.

There are plenty of games out there that let you tear down your opponent's position.

 
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Ken B.
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byronczimmer wrote:
franklincobb wrote:
Quote:
but does the game really need to make it possible to prevent someone from having a chance at winning for you to have fun?





No, but if someone gets ahead of you or has a problematic combination of cards, it would be nice to be able to do something about it. Same problem I have with San Juan, actually. (Library + Quarry + Carpenter? Wheeeeeee!)




By that point, the game is almost over. The thing to do is to finish out and play another round.

It's like saying there should be more space than 12 slots or more VPs in the pool than 12*players. All it does is extend the game.

I know that if I got hit with the inability to do ANYTHING due to other players cards (can't draw on Explore, Joe gets it, can't trade, Mary and John get those cards... fun!) that I would have been turned off by this game immediately.

There are plenty of games out there that let you tear down your opponent's position.





I'm not saying that *these* cards are balanced. Just that it would be nice to have a few cards with their sort of flavor involved.

 
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Josh Riley
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topherbear wrote:
How about

Telepath Guild
Type: Development
Cost: 5
vps: 2
Opponent must reveal role choice first. May be nullified by Research Labs or by placement of one's own Telepath Guild.

And for black hole generator, I would like it to consume all their goods, but for no points.

[Edit: Added comment about black hole generator]



excellent tweak to black hole generator. makes more sense. more powerful, so probably bump up the cost to 5. and, i like the idea of making your opponent(s) reveal their role choice first. one opponent or all opponents?
 
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Josh Riley
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byronczimmer wrote:
Though I applaud the enthusiasm, I shudder at the words (haven't play tested). Let me voice some concerns.


thanks for taking a close look at my 'off the top of my head' ideas. You did reveal some imbalances so that's good. I'm not convinced putting in screwage cards ruins this game. I want to try it out and see so i'm looking for ideas. The costs, vps, and powers will of course need to be tweaked thru play testing. They would be on the expensive side so it wouldn't be easy to amass many without affecting your own game plan. Just looking for the base ways that you could screw with your opponents. You seem to have a good sense for the RFTG balance/math. Do you have any new ideas for these types of cards or is the idea just too revolting?


 
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Ben Foy
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yoshele wrote:
I'm not convinced putting in screwage cards ruins this game. I want to try it out and see so i'm looking for ideas. [...] Just looking for the base ways that you could screw with your opponents. [...] Do you have any new ideas for these types of cards or is the idea just too revolting?


I think this would be a great idea for an expansion with the following caveats:

1.) The 'screw your opponent' expansion is clearly labeled as such.
2.) Don't put 'screw your opponent' cards into any expansions that aren't 'screw your opponent' expansions.
3.) And these cards need to be playtested so they aren't too powerful and they don't decrease the number of strategies.
4.) These aren't published by a 3rd party.
 
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yoshele wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
Though I applaud the enthusiasm, I shudder at the words (haven't play tested). Let me voice some concerns.


thanks for taking a close look at my 'off the top of my head' ideas. You did reveal some imbalances so that's good. I'm not convinced putting in screwage cards ruins this game. I want to try it out and see so i'm looking for ideas. The costs, vps, and powers will of course need to be tweaked thru play testing. They would be on the expensive side so it wouldn't be easy to amass many without affecting your own game plan. Just looking for the base ways that you could screw with your opponents. You seem to have a good sense for the RFTG balance/math. Do you have any new ideas for these types of cards or is the idea just too revolting?


So what precisely are you looking for when it comes to 'interaction' in a game about exploration, building and creation of an economy?

See, I already find the subtle interaction very beautiful and am willing to live within the strategy space it represents. I've taught the game to many dozens of people and have a win rate of 85% or higher, including against some very good opponents. I find the ability to predict what will enter my hand and the ability to discern what my opponents will do to be a nice change of pace from 'play a card, sink a ship' type games (see my review of Naval Battle to understand what I think of such games).

Yes, it's more like a bike race, where the real hurdle is to overcome your own road blocks to do the best you can, but at the same time have others moving on the same road whom you can draft off of or cut off.

Don't get me wrong, I love games like RoboRally and other 'gotcha' games - when the time is right. Come to think of it, when playing RoboRally I very rarely engage in combat, preferring to win by efficient use of my cards and boards to pull ahead or forge onwards when everyone else is shutting down.

As to alternative ideas, I've posted one thought for an expansion set very early on which is posted in Varients -- it dealt with 'add on' powers that cost very little and were called 'Moons', 'Satelites' and 'Devices' (names may be slighly off, it's been a while since the idea). It would take the game in a new direction, allowing customization of the currently static worlds and developments. I did that at a time I hadn't fully understood the intricate balance already in this game, and was trying desparately to not upset that balance while still bringing something interesting to the table.

So first, you really need to identify what it is you're trying to fix or change about this game, and possibly identify why it needs fixing (from your perspective).

There's plenty of card games out there with a 'take that' mechanic. Munchkin comes to mind. This game, to me, is more like poker - and you don't see special cards in poker that let you swap hands or take cards away or make a flush worth less than a three of a kind for a hand.

Galactic Emporer (a board game) is apparently very much like Puerto Rico in Space with Space ships, and might scratch your itch. I was initially interested in it, but as I read more, it's falling down my wish list precisely because it rewards open conflict and agression.

There's a time and a place for such concepts, but it's not when I'm playing Race for the Galaxy.

As to new card ideas, yes, I have plenty. I have a sketch book with some of my more refined, thought through and balanced ideas, and once I see the changes that Gathering Storm introduces, I intend to submit some of the best (and not duplicated in Gathering Storm) to Tom.

But in those, the closest I come to a direct screw is a card denial concept similar to the Chapel in San Juan, and even then I'm leaning towards it being an unknowledgable denial versus being able to specifically bury a known card. This comes from my study of the game and is shown in my 'Race for the Galaxy Essays' which are all in the Strategy section (search for 'Essay' in the title). I also have some new ideas about possible card powers, but in general, they don't let you reach out and touch someone else's tableau. The game is simply too tight already to introduce that much chaos into the system.

In short, this isn't a game about direct conflict of galactic empires (yet), and until I see the extend that player-versus-player is introduced in Gathering Storm and Unnamed Expansion, I'm personally unwilling to prempt the designers in that arena.
 
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Josh Riley
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byronczimmer wrote:

So first, you really need to identify what it is you're trying to fix or change about this game, and possibly identify why it needs fixing (from your perspective).


nah, i'm not trying to fix RFTG; just trying to make an interesting *variant* - one with more interaction. i love RFTG as it is as well. i imagine you could take this game model and configure it many different ways and make it work.
 
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yoshele wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:

So first, you really need to identify what it is you're trying to fix or change about this game, and possibly identify why it needs fixing (from your perspective).


nah, i'm not trying to fix RFTG; just trying to make an interesting *variant* - one with more interaction. i love RFTG as it is as well. i imagine you could take this game model and configure it many different ways and make it work.


Perhaps answer the other questions posed then:

Quote:
So what precisely are you looking for when it comes to 'interaction' in a game about exploration, building and creation of an economy?


Quote:
So first, you really need to identify what it is you're trying to fix or change about this game, and possibly identify why it needs fixing (from your perspective).


Without those goals in place, you cannot achieve them.

Also, look at "Glory to Rome" for other ideas of direct interaction in a card game that's similar.
 
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I checked to see what types of games you like, and didn't see a rating for Race for the Galaxy, which surprised me a bit.

If we know what types of games you enjoy, it's easier to determine ways to add on to this one to make you enjoy it more.
 
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