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Subject: Diplomacy Variant rss

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Philip Moerenhout
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After reading posts from Kaiwen Zhang and Bleached Lizard about a more " interesting" Diplomacy mechanic, the following idea popped up in my head.
I think it could actually be a very good variant, so I'd like to post it here.

First : what's viewed as somewhat lacking in the diplomacy mechanic ?
1- Convincing a mighty dragon is just as easy as convincing a lowly Razorwing.
2- Convincing a group is just as easy as convincing one unit.

The new mechanic should thus scale diplomacy difficulty so that it is
1- more difficult to lure a Dragon unit in than a Razorwing.
2- more difficult to convince more units than fewer units.

The Variant Mechanic works surprisingly simple and effective :

When you move units into an area containing neutral units you have two options :
1- Fight them ( as per the official rules)
2- Try Diplomacy on them

When you try Diplomacy you must pay exactly 1 Influence for each neutral unit in the area and draw the same amount of Fate cards.

Meaning, if there's just 1 neutral unit you must pay 1 Influence and draw 1 Fate Card...
If there are 4 neutral units you must pay exactly 4 Influence and draw 4 Fate cards ...
So, the more units in the area, the more influence you'll have to use to get them to listen to you.

Then you'll play 1 Fate Card result ( using the corresponding unit type result ) on each neutral unit to indicate how they react to your diplomatic efforts.

When using Fate Cards for diplomacy purposes the icons on the Fate cards have a different meaning

"Blank" result : you succesfully ally 1 unit (of the corresponding unit type.)
Base 40% chance to ally Triangle and Round units.
Base 30% chance to ally Rectangle Units.
Base 20% chance to ally Hexagon Units.
Basically, the worst result you can get in combat, a "blank", is the best result you can get in Diplomacy.
This means it's easier to get Sorcerers and Beastmen to join you than Dragons and Giants.

"Damage" result : this neutral unit (of the corresponding unit type) attacks you ( after the diplomacy part is finished completely )
base 13.32% chance to be attacked by Round units.
Base 26.64% chance to be attacked by Triangle Units.
Base 33.33% chance to be attacked by Rectangle Units.
Base 39.96% chance to be attacked by Hexagon Units.
So, it's more likely that Giants and Dragons will attack you than Sorcerers.

"Orb" result :this neutral unit (of the corresponding unit type) retreats.
base 40.% chance that Round units retreat.
Base 20% chance that Triangle, Rectangle and Hexagon Units retreat
Wizard type units flee twice as often as the combat oriented types.

"Flag" result : this neutral unit (of the corresponding unit type) is unaffected by your diplomacy and stands his ground.
You'll have to fight this unit after Diplomacy is finished to try to control this area or you'll have to retreat.

base 20% chance to be unaffected by diplomacy and stand their ground : Hexagon Units.
Base 16.65% chance to be unaffected by diplomacy and stand their ground : Rectangle Units.
Base 13.32% chance to be unaffected by diplomacy and stand their ground : Triangle Units.
Base 6.66% chance to be unaffected by diplomacy and stand their ground : Triangle Units.
Dragons and Giants will stand their ground and force the opponent to fight them or retreat more often than lower units like Razorwings.

An example to finish off.

You send a Sorceress into an area containing a Dragon ( Hexagon unit), a Hellhound ( Rectangle Unit), a Sorcerer ( Round unit) and Razorwing ( Triangle unit)

Since there are four Neutral Units in the area you have to pay 4 Influence to try Diplomacy on them.
You work through the units one by one, starting with Initiative 1 units, then initiative 2 units and so on

Sorcerer and Razorwing are both Intitiative 1 units and you decide to start with the Razorwing.
You draw Fate Card 22 which shows a "Blank" for Triangle meaning the Razorwing allies with you.

Then you Draw for the Sorcerer : Fate card 2 : which shows an "Orb" for round units , meaning the Sorcerer withdraws.
The player to your left decides what area the Sorcerer withdraws to following the normal retreat rules.

Then you draw for the Initiative 3 unit Hellhound : Fate Card 1 : which shows a "Flag (2)", meaning the Hellhound is unaffected by your diplomatic efforts and will stand his ground.Ignore the number (2) for Diplomacy.
You'll have to decide at the end of diplomacy whether to attack him or retreat.

Finally you draw for the initiative 4 unit, the Dragon : Fate Card 8 : which shows a "damage (3)" result, meaning the Dragon attacks you (at the end of Diplomacy) ( again, ignore the number (3) for diplomacy).

So, the situation is set :
the Sorcerer has withdrawn and the Razorwing is now your ally.
You decide to retreat from the area so you don't have to fight the Hellhound but before you can retreat you will have to fight the Dragon.
Line your Sorceress and your Razowing up for Combat against the Dragon and resolve as normal.
If any of your units survive the battle they can withdraw as normal.

Even though this makes a rather lengthy post, this system is quite simple really and provides a "more interesting" diplomacy game IMO.





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Chris Orszak
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I had been thinking along the same lines in terms of applying one token per neutral unit. Couple issues to think about though:

With diplomacy often being done with the supremacy portion of a mobilize order, how do you handle the no 2nd combat restriction? It sounds like you have made a distinction between fight or retreat (flags) and being attacked (damage) and while the former is covered in the rules, the latter goes against them.

Do units that ally with you fight in any ensuing combats?
 
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Terry Maciw
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I agree with your first sentence....

When you try Diplomacy you must pay exactly 1 Influence for each neutral unit in the area and draw the same amount of Fate cards.

... but then you went on to make it too complicated.

I think the first part of your variant is a great 'simple' rule that I will try in my next game.

Thanks.
 
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Philip Moerenhout
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Orgak wrote:

With diplomacy often being done with the supremacy portion of a mobilize order, how do you handle the no 2nd combat restriction? It sounds like you have made a distinction between fight or retreat (flags) and being attacked (damage) and while the former is covered in the rules, the latter goes against them.

You bring up a good point Orgak.
After checking out the Supremacy wording on the Mobilize order, I think it still holds up.
The order says : "you may ... as long as you do not START a second battle."
You don't start it because it's the Dragon that starts it.
So basically, when you play a "damage" result it would be the opposing unit which instigates combat.
It feels kinda cheesy I admit, but it could work like that ...

Orgak wrote:

Do units that ally with you fight in any ensuing combats?

That's the idea, yes.
 
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Scott Yost
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If the dragon attacks during Mobilize+Supremacy, it's the same as failed diplomacy w/o the house rule - friendly units must retreat. (they may not fight the battle)

the question for this house rule would be what happens with the units that allied with you - do they retreat with you?
 
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Daniel Hammond
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It is a clever variant. The problems I have with it are:

First I can still send in one unit to try to recruit 6 neutrals (assuming I have the influence).

Second, if there were 4 like units, one could attack, one retreat, one stands ground and the other attacks (I would think like units would feel in a similar way toward you).

Third, recruiting 1 razorwing costs the same as recruiting 1 dragon (admittedly with less chance of success).

Four, you used to be able to spend what you wanted and now you MUST spend X if X creatures.
 
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Alex Martinez
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Ah, house rules. The fan fiction of board game geeks.

I can see where you're coming from to some degree, but I wonder if people are overthinking this element of the game.

For me, rather than thinking it's too cheap to recruit a dragon, I think along the lines of that it's too expensive (intentionally) to recruit a couple of lowly razorwings. Influence is already a precious resource, and to make it cost more to recruit neutral units to me seems unnecessary.

Influence is vital in the game. Not only does it help you win neutrals, but it determines who goes first and can even win you dragon runes. To reduce its effectiveness in recruiting units would make this option less viable. If it's going to cost me four infuence to try and recruit four units and I'm not going to get all of them even if I succeed, I'm not going to waste my time. Influence is far too precious to throw away. Even spending influence to try and recruit a dragon with the current rules is something I consider carefully.

If you need a game justification, I have one that works for me. The only way a huge group of neutral units occupy a single hex is if they've been harrassed into assembling into one large group. If this happens, then I see it as perfectly sensible that they would eventually sign up with one side to protect their own interests.

No matter how powerful a horde of neutral units might be, if they see hordes of humans, elves, undead, and chaos warriors slowly crowding them out, they're probably going to be more willing to join up with somebody to protect themselves.

Also, a dragon or a giant, while a powerful unit, is not a game breaker. Because victory in battle is ultimately determined by how many units are standing and fighting at the end of the fight, a single powerful unit will rarely be able to turn a battle on its own.

I think we're also overlooking the cost of controlling neutral units. You need at least one of your own units to be in the area with them. While it's perfectly acceptable to send a single diplomat to negotiate and lead a force of neutral units, all it takes is for that single diplomat to be killed for you alliance to crumble.

From my perspective anyway, I think the diplomacy rules are simple, straightforward, and keep the game from being too complicated.

Still, my joke at the beginning aside, house rules are fine. But I'm sticking with diplomacy rules as written because I think they work very well.
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Chris J Davis
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dlhammond wrote:
It is a clever variant. The problems I have with it are:

First I can still send in one unit to try to recruit 6 neutrals (assuming I have the influence).


However, the fewer units you send in, the more chance you have on being eliminated by any units that attack you.

dlhammond wrote:
Second, if there were 4 like units, one could attack, one retreat, one stands ground and the other attacks (I would think like units would feel in a similar way toward you).


Beastmen are individuals too, you know!

dlhammond wrote:
Third, recruiting 1 razorwing costs the same as recruiting 1 dragon (admittedly with less chance of success).


Exactly - less chance of success. So for the same chance of success, it costs more.

dlhammond wrote:
Four, you used to be able to spend what you wanted and now you MUST spend X if X creatures.


So what? In fact, this almost contradicts your point #3 - surely a larger group *should* cost more...?
 
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Peter Gousis
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If you are just going to do it random like this why not just draw 1 card per unit, but look at the diplomacy symbol. This variant (as is) actually increases the odds of recruiting a unit, even the powerful ones, although at the cost of a potential attack against you. The part I don't like is that it hurts factions who have gotten more influence. They can no longer spend more influence to get a better chance at recruiting. Look at the elves for example. They can't even get a hex unit without recruiting. This will put them at an even bigger disadvantage militarily. Now they could be spending their only advantage (influence) to potentially get their units, or the monster they are trying to recruit killed. Not allowing them to beef up their chances hurts these factions.

Edited for clarity.
 
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Chris J Davis
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I was going to suggest, in fact, why not allow players to spend more influence before each card draw to draw an extra card for that monster for each influence spent?
 
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