My variant file just got uploaded.
It adds the following features:
- Shields, Combo, Red & Yellow drives are no longer always available at Green Leaf and Red/Yellow ship systems.
- Ersatz Relics: The only equipment available are "Ersatz" (I prefer the term "Knock off") relics--equipment that mimics the affect the relic becomes available for purchase at either Leaf or Eye systems once a relic is discovered. Knock offs however take up 1/2 hold (except one may be installed on the hull), whereas Genuine Relics do not.
- The Relics have been modified a bit
* Two types of Shields: -10 for $60 and -20 for $100. The price increase gets them closer to their true value.
* Yellow ($80), Red ($120) and Blue ($100) Drives (Though a maximum of 2 are allowed)
* Some price changes of Spy Eye and Gate Lock.
* Slight modifications to the Gate Lock (allows turn off or on at any time in move) and Jump Start (If you do not roll pilot number to make your specified Jump Move, you must continue the turn normally.)
* Relic Laser is removed--If combat rules are used, they are still available for purchase.
* 2 New Relics:
Space Generator ($120 adds extra hold)
Galactic Positioning System, aka GPS ($80, Any number can be used a Pilot Number)
The variant includes 48 new ? markers, with green "taters" on the backs, and 84 equipment chits, 1 market card, a set of rules.
I am thinking about allowing players at the WBC tournament to use this variant in the preliminary rounds. (The privilege of being a GM. )
As a long time Merchant player, I found the development of ships was a bit stale--everyone buys a Shield since it is so cheap and effective. The other items, since they took up space, were rarely purchased. By placing the equipment only available as Relics and allowing them to be purchased, I thought it would encourage a variety of different ship design decision to be made:
- Sometimes, no shields would be available at all, forcing players to make tougher decisions on where to move.
- Sometimes a rarely used relic might be valuable enough to purchase: a Switch Switch or Gate Lock might be a valuable item to navigate through a Cloud strewn with Tele Gates,
- More than one person could get a particularly valuable Jump Start or Drive or Mulligan Gear. Finding them is no longer an easy ticket to victory.
I thank Greg Durrett (who came up with the Rumble Seat--the precursor to the Space Generator) and John Cudmore & Michael Christopher (for the Ersatz Relic variant) which greatly influenced this variant.
Questions and Comments are cheerfully accepted. Any session reports are encouraged!