Gareth
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TtA should be in my top 10 games, it has the right theme, novel mechanics, interesting decisions and, for the most part, many different balanced strategies. Unfortunately, the military side of the game has always to me felt at odds with the rest of this well crafted game. To see this sentiment expressed by others in ways far more eloquently than I can manage read Chris Farrell's excellent review and analysis of the game. Having lost games simply for the lack of a tactics card (despite drawing the maximum each turn) or a complete lack of aggressions despite a strong military advantage (except for a War drawn on the last turn) I turned cold on this game, I don't mind being screwed by the deck in a 30-60 min game like Glory to Rome or Race for the Galaxy, but in a 2hr+ game, it's a little frustrating to see everything collapse because the deck decides to hold out on you.

So I have a simple modification to the game which could potentially mitigate the randomness of the military deck while still trying not to give players too much control over it. I haven't playtested this idea, but would be interested to hear what other, more experienced, players think of it. Credit for the variant has to go to Race for the Galaxy.

On his turn, a player may use his military actions in the normal fashion to draw single cards from the deck. Alternatively, he may spend all of his military actions to draw 2xN cards from the military deck, where N is the number of actions he played. He must then discard all of the cards except one. Any extra military actions gained during the turn are considered to also be used, but do not result in extra cards being drawn.

The idea here is that, if a player really, really needs a card of a given type, he has a means to trawl through the deck to get it at the expense of his military actions. There are a couple of things that need tested in this. It's possible that 2x is too strong and a better thing would be N+2 or N+3, alternatively, you could cap the number of cards drawn to 6 while still consuming all military actions. I'd be interested to hear what people think.

Edit: speeling
 
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Tim Seitz
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Glen Allen
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Capoeirista wrote:
TtA should be in my top 10 games, it has the right theme, novel mechanics, interesting decisions and, for the most part, many different balanced strategies. Unfortunately, the military side of the game has always to me felt at odds with the rest of this well crafted game. To see this sentiment expressed by others in ways far more eloquently than I can manage read Chris Farrell's excellent review and analysis of the game. Having lost games simply for the lack of a tactics card (despite drawing the maximum each turn) or a complete lack of aggressions despite a strong military advantage (except for a War drawn on the last turn) I turned cold on this game, I don't mind being screwed by the deck in a 30-60 min game like Glory to Rome or Race for the Galaxy, but in a 2hr+ game, it's a little frustrating to see everything collapse because the deck decides to hold out on you.

So I have a simple modification to the game which could potentially mitigate the randomness of the military deck while still trying not to give players too much control over it. I haven't playtested this idea, but would be interested to hear what other, more experienced, players think of it. Credit for the variant has to go to Race for the Galaxy.

On his turn, a player may use his military actions in the normal fashion to draw single cards from the deck. Alternatively, he may spend all of his military actions to draw 2xN cards from the military deck, where N is the number of actions he played. He must then discard all of the cards except one. Any extra military actions gained during the turn are considered to also be used, but do not result in extra cards being drawn.

The idea here is that, if a player really, really needs a card of a given type, he has a means to trawl through the deck to get it at the expense of his military actions. There are a couple of things that need tested in this. It's possible that 2x is too strong and a better thing would be N+2 or N+3, alternatively, you could cap the number of cards drawn to 6 while still consuming all military actions. I'd be interested to hear what people think.

Edit: speeling

I'm not sure I like that idea. It's very often that a player won't use any military actions, especially in the early turns. You'd run out the military deck very quickly since it would almost always be better to draw 2N.

If the randomness bothers you and you want to mitigate it with additional card draws, I see 2 simple options:

1. Eliminate the cap of 3 cards per turn. If a player invests heavily into military, then he is likely to seek out extra military actions. This rewards those extra actions.

2. Alternatively, You could cap the "kept" cards to 3 while still allowing more draws. So if you ended the turn with 4 remaining actions, you could draw 4, but could only keep 3. This would prevent players from hoarding defense cards.

As a final word, I'd suggest that the card drawing keeps the game from becoming deterministic. The very slight inherent randomness keeps the game interesting all the way down to the end.
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howl hollow howl
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I don't disagree that military is a crapshoot; my 2p and 3p games are being dominated by early culture investment, especially via Mike.

I do think that letting a player see too many military cards has the drawback that it gives him not only the powerful card he seeks, but also gives him too much information about what cards his opponents have and have not seen.
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Kevin Warrender
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I don't think it's a bad idea, but it seems like it would just shift the discarding of excess military cards from the end of your political action to the end of your turn. Kind of.

Maybe limiting its use to once per age would be a good way to start.

I don't think it is necessary, but can't hurt to try as a variant.

 
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Tim Seitz
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Glen Allen
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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By the way. There's an official variant for military cards posted on page 19 of the rulebook. Something about how you can use a military action to draw a new military card.
 
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