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Subject: Expansion? rss

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Bryant Brown
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I really like Ad Astra, and believe the game could easily be expanded in a number of ways. Has anyone heard if there will be an expansion for this game?
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bruno faidutti
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We have some ideas, and we are listening fr any hint or suggestion from players… Nothing clearly in the pipe yet, but it may happen.
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Bryant Brown
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Thank you for your quick response. My gaming group frequently consists of six individuals so my first thought is that the game could be expanded to accommodate a sixth player. I also like the idea of having more ways to score points.

-Some random ideas- If a sixth player is added then more systems and worlds could be used to provide an additional type of resource that could be used to score more points by providing additional building options. Some form of conquest might also be possible. Or, perhaps a new type of building(s) that can be established on an opposing players planet(s) to acquire a resource or slow their strategy.

Thanks again for a great game. I am also interested to hear from the gaming community to see what expansion ideas they have.
 
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Bryant Brown
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The following idea may spawn other ideas:

Each player begins with a 6" diameter disk that represents their start planet. The color of the disk matches the players color rather than an ore, water, or vegetable planet. On the disk are markings that represent the standard game pieces players start with (4 colonies, 3 factories, 4 terraformers, and 3 starships). Every time a player builds on a planet surrounding a system they take the appropriate piece from their new start planet. The pieces that are removed from the start planet count toward fulfilling requirements so the players can score additional points. For instance if a player has removed 2 colonies and 2 factories then they fulfill a prerequisite for building a monument on their start world. At the end of the game, yy monuments count toward xx extra points.

Thanks,
Bryant
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David Murray
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Bryant Brown wrote:
The following idea may spawn other ideas:

Each player begins with a 6" diameter disk that represents their start planet. The color of the disk matches the players color rather than an ore, water, or vegetable planet. On the disk are markings that represent the standard game pieces players start with (4 colonies, 3 factories, 4 terraformers, and 3 starships). Every time a player builds on a planet surrounding a system they take the appropriate piece from their new start planet. The pieces that are removed from the start planet count toward fulfilling requirements so the players can score additional points. For instance if a player has removed 2 colonies and 2 factories then they fulfill a prerequisite for building a monument on their start world. At the end of the game, yy monuments count toward xx extra points.

Thanks,
Bryant


So put simply, buildings that require a certain number of buildings already built. I think you have overcomplicated it a bit, you could just say momenents require X and Y to be built. Interesting idea though.
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Marc vdb
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I would like to see more interaction between the players. For example "space pirates" to steal ressource cards from opponents or something like this.
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Juraj Sulik
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Technologies would be nice (jump gates/photon engines to travel cheaper/faster etc.). Some of them having player-conflict abilities, some not, so each player can choose how interactive he wants to get (something like buildings and action cards in Settlers of Catan:Cities & Knights).

Maybe some optional event cards drawn at the start of each round to spice things a bit, with a chance to take a peek on next event in advance perhaps.

And some kind of galactic senate/guild, where players can press agendas and motions that benefit them mostly (like parlament in Cuba).

On top of that, faction unique abilities would be cool. One faction can be better at researching technologies, other at producing or voting in senate.

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Brett Hudoba
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Quote:
And some kind of galactic senate/guild, where players can press agendas and motions that benefit them mostly (like parlament in Cuba).

Um, wouldn't that be Twilight Imperium, then? I'm sure they were shooting for something different.
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Juraj Sulik
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Um, wouldn't that be Twilight Imperium, then? I'm sure they were shooting for something different.

Well, Twilight Imperium without dice playable under one and half hour sounds like a win to me


Oh, and I want planets able to produce two different kinds of goods, phasing/dying stars and more plastic goodness (space stations?).
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Gláucio Reis
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I'm not very fond of this current trend of expansions for nearly every successful game, and I'd prefer to know that the designers are working on a totally new game or maybe even a "sequel" in the same universe, but with different mechanics. However, if an expansion has to happen...

Yuri wrote:
Oh, and I want planets able to produce two different kinds of goods, phasing/dying stars and more plastic goodness (space stations?).

I had the same idea about planets, but only for the starting worlds, in order to accelerate the beginning of the game. Or this could be in the form of moons. You would have the normal starting worlds producing two resources of a kind, but also a moon that would produce one unit of a different resource. But on second thought, if that is our Solar System, then some of those starting worlds must already be moons.

A space station is also a good idea for the same purpose. They could also be placed in other star systems, not attached to specific planets, and have the ability to produce one resource from any planet occupied by another player in the same system. If that is too powerful, make it a 1:1 trade with the bank (still limited to resources available on your opponent's planets). In that case, they might alternatively be trade ships.

But the one thing I would really like to see is the contact with alien races, which could be peaceful or not.

And definitely more plastic goodness.
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Kevin Tierney
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My hopes for an expansion would be to add some more thematic elements to the game without adding more luck.

I have only played Ad Astra a few times, but I really enjoy it. I prefer it over regular Catan. My only criticism of it would be a lack of thematic tension between players. If game time is not an issue, I would choose Starfarers of Catan over Ad Astra for this reason -- the feeling of racing each other toward deep space and trying to hold onto the alien friendship tokens just makes the game more exciting on an "unfolding story" level. I do prefer Ad Astra's scoring and less-luck based system, though -- I just think the excitement/tension is at a more cerebral level, which makes it less appealing to family gamers (at least my family gamers).

Plus, adding more theme would almost surely mean more cool plastic bits, right?

I listed some ideas below. I added some possible rules to tie the theme of the new elements to the gameplay, but I'm not sure if they would upset the balance of the game. I just want to inject a bit more story into each session. It would really help me get the game to the table more.

Note, I don't think there necessarily needs to be a new resource type, although I'm not against it either. I just can't imagine creating it w/o unbalancing the existing strategies and I don't see it adding more theme -- just complexity.

My first idea would add a new ship type -- the ark. The opening paragraphs of the instructions talk about how the home system's star is "unexpectedly dying" so why not add this to the gameplay? After some number of rounds the sun would become unstable. At this time, resource production on the home planets stop. A turn (or two?) later, the sun explodes and destroys the entire system. At any time prior to this, a player can convert his homeworld factory to an "ark" to move his homeworld to another planet. The cost would have to be something unique that would work with any player's chosen strategy. My first idea would be it costs 0 resources, but can only be done on a turn where you play both your build card and the resource card of your homeworld. Once converted to an ark, your homeworld factory no longer produces resources, so you may not want to do it too soon (ie round 1). The ark is still tethered to your homeworld though. You need to play one of your own move cards to send it somewhere else before the sun explodes. (Thus, it is restricted to one of the systems your race can travel to.) You later play another build card to convert the ark back into a factory AND a terraformer at the same time -- the cost being that it is the only build you are allowed to do that phase. There would be an exception that any type of planet can be terraformed in this manner, since it only happens once. The rewards can't be too good, so that not migrating wouldn't guarantee a loss. As a final rule, you would also get to place your ark on the scoring track once you have successfully migrated your homeworld. The first player to migrate would get position 1, the next 2, etc. It could be used as a tiebreaker at the end of the game. (It would also let my daughters point out they managed to save their people first, even if they don't win.)

Far away systems would be another enhancement. Any ship in "deep" space could choose to enter "hyperspace" and take three movement turns to travel to the distant systems, with possibly another movement turn used to "scan" the system prior to arrival. Thus, you could go directly to a system, arriving in the shortest time possible, or play it safe and spend a turn to know exactly what planets were waiting for you. The movements would not require energy, but would cost your movement turn. If you played the movement card, you would only be allowed to move the ship one time, but you could still do multiple moves with the rest of your fleet. Once the ship arrives, it transforms into a jumpgate that allows normal travel. You can trade jumpgate privileges w/ other players to allow them to travel to the new system. Some of the new planets might be special two-type resource providers. Others might be worthless rocks -- only you would know the value of the system when you negotiate jumpgate privileges. There may have to be some kind of diplomacy bonus for allowing jumpgate use to encourage sharing. Other players could still build their own jumpgates in the distant systems, even if they arrive after you.

My hope for this would be a common card/board for all hyperspace trips, so you could immediately see your progress compared w/ the other players. This would (hopefully) increase the feel of urgency and competition to explore...

Another enhancement could be that the leader bonus for all but the two resource-related scoring cards get taken from the player who previously owned the lead. I want some cool plastic markers included in the expansion to be held by the scoring leaders. Whenever the scoring leadership changes, the old leader loses the marker and three points. You don't lose the leadership marker when there is a tie. You also can't lose points if your score is >= 50. In all cases, the new leader gets 3 points and the marker showing they are the best shipbuilder/colonizer/terraformer/explorer in the galaxy. If you score multiple times as the leader you keep all of those points -- you never lose more than 3.

I would love to see a six player version as well, although I'm not sure how the planning phase would work. One idea is three teams of two, with each player getting two action choices. I know the team play options aren't as popular, but recently I've played the six player team variant of Zooloretto with some great success. It really twists up some of the strategy in a good way. Maybe two races working together to colonize the galaxy could be fun, although guessing your partner's moves may prove too painful. If teams don't work, maybe some preset actions laid out each round so each player still only places two cards during the planning phase?

Finally, a bigger starting player marker should be included in the expansion, but this goes w/o saying.

So -- new ships and jumpgates, more planets and stars, some jumpgate privilege cards, a card/board to track the hyperspace moves, bits for a sixth player, and 5 markers (starting player + 4 scoring leader trophies). Too much?
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Ed
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I'd like to see some thematic tension among the subspecies, or at least some subspecies-specific abilities, but I know that they probably wouldn't fit into the backstory that I developed (posted in the Files section if you're interested) and I've grown quite attached to it!

I think a new ship type or two seems like an obvious addition, though aside from possibly being involved in an introduced combat mechanic, I can't think of anything they'd do.

As for combat itself, I'm not opposed to it, but I definitely don't think it's a necessity for the game.

I think a great concept for an expansion would be each subspecies trying to establish a new homeworld. In the base game we have them all just trying to survive, essentially, but in an expansion we could see them working toward a more permanent solution. This could involve the collection of specific resources (perhaps including those from new planet types added in the expansion, and perhaps with each subspecies' particular needed resources being different to make things a bit more interesting), and/or the building of particular structures (most likely involving some new ones added by the expansion). And then there may or may not be specific conditions needed for a planet to be considered suitable as a permanent home: maybe it could be a new planet type, and/or each race could need a particular type. This gameplay might also lend itself to having use for a new type of ship, perhaps to transport resources to the prospective homeworld or something like that.

There might well be a way to play the above content in both a standalone fashion (not in the sense of components, but in the sense of not simply adding on to the length of the base game), or as an endgame stage begun when the initial victory condition is met, with the winner of the first stage perhaps getting some sort of advantage (though clearly not such a big one that it wouldn't be possible for one of the others to win).

And Kevin, I've also thought about the idea of Sol going nova partway through the game. I think this could easily be added with house rules instead of needing an expansion, though I haven't tried it yet or decided which way might be best. Some sort of timer would certainly add a lot of tension, but a set number of turns might be more feasible. Rolling a die at the start to determine the turn on which it blows might be an okay compromise (though you'd probably have to shave off the extremes on a d6 and call 1s 2 turns, and 6s 5 turns). I think you could reasonably add this feature to the base game without it disrupting the mechanics too much, though like I said, I haven't gotten around to testing it yet.
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bruno faidutti
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OK, we've had some talks with Serge, and we would like to add some interaction, without going for all out war. Also, graphically, we thought that the idea of asteroid rings around some of the planets could look nice. So, here is the main part of what we are considering at the moment.

I post it here because I think it can be quite easy for some of you to playtest at least this part of the expansion - just make some cardboard circles for asteroid rings, and take two pirate ships in each color from your Twilight Imeperium or from some other game. We're very interested in feedback, especially since both Serge and I seem to be playtesting too many games at once these last weeks…

So, here it is :

• 5 asteroid rings
• 2 pirate ships in each color


Asteroid Rings :
• During setup, the five asteroid rings are placed around any five planets.
• When a player moves a spaceship to or into a system with one or more “ringed” planets, he doesn’t look at the ringed planet. He can nevertheless decide to land his spaceship on a ringed planet, but without knowing what it can produce.
• When a “system” score is triggered with the system/terraform scoring card, each ringed planet controlled by a player counts as one extra system.
• Pirate ships cannot land on ringed planet.


Pirate ships :
• The cost to build a pirate ship is the same as for a standard ship, plus one energy.
• Pirate ships do not count as ships when a spaceship scoring is triggered.
• Pirate ships move with movement cards, for the same cost and with the same system limitations as standard ships.
• Pirate ships can only land on a planet with another player’s colony, factory and/or terraform. Pirate ships cannot land on a friendly planet, nor on a planet with an opponent spaceship, nor on a ringed planet.
• A pirate ship on a planet “steals” all the effects of the colony, factory and/or terraform on his planet. This means that if the planet produces resources, the cards corresponding toe the colony or factory go to the pirate ship’s owner and not to the colony or factory’s owner.
• This means also that when a scoring is triggered, the colony, factory and/or terraform on this planet are counted for the pirate ship’s owner.
• If another spaceship lands on the same planet, the pirate ship immediately leaves to outer space. This is true both if a spaceship of the original owner lands on the planet
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Gláucio Reis
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Asteroid Rings:

I think being unable to know which resource the planet produces does not add anything desirable. There is already enough luck when you choose from several planets, and I don't see how adding more luck and an element of gambling improves the game. I realize, though, that there is a practical issue, since players usually take all the planets in hand to choose, and they would have to be extra careful not to change the planet with the ring. Also, if you remove the gamble, of course you will need some other way of discouraging players from going straight to planets with rings. Requiring an extra resource to establish a colony might do the trick.

I agree with Ben when he says that counting as an extra system for scoring and offering protection against pirates is unthematic. I do prefer his suggestion of producing an ore resource (might also be water), except that I don't think it needs to be related to the planet. The ring might produce only one card, regardless of what you have on the planet. Maybe make it require at least a colony to produce.

Pirate ships:

Ben also makes some excellent points here, specially about the pirate ships being too powerful. Personally, I don't think the game needs more interaction, and particularly not negative interaction of the kind that makes you choose one player to hurt. But if you have to have pirate ships, make them only steal resource production, not VPs. And I really like the idea of neutral police ships, which would be less harmful to a player's strategy when he had to drive away pirates.

However, my idea for pirate ships is a little different. You might steal resources from the hand of a player, instead of stealing the stuff he has built, and it would happen when you moved the pirate ship. But it would still be a little annoying.
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bruno faidutti
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The problem of pirate leaving and coming back seems indeed to be critical…

Thanks a lot for your feedback! Please keep us informed also if you try some adjustments, because some are certainly needed. It's a real shame I have to finalize lots of things on lots of games at the same time, I would like to find more occasions to playtest this as well !

Bruno
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bruno faidutti
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And here comes a new version, aimed at making pirates weaker, giving more choices to the players (do I use my pirate now or later), and replacing the asteroid rings with something more useful and less random.

Asteroids:
• During setup, one asteroid is placed, face down, in each system. The remaining asteroids are placed back in the box, without looking at them.
• When a player moves a spaceship to or into a system with an asteroid, he secretly looks at the hidden planets and at the asteroid.
• Instead of landing on a planet, the player can land on the asteroid. In this case, the asteroid is revealed and immediately removed from the game. The player immediately takes from the bank the two resource cards indicated on the asteroid.
• Since the asteroid is removed from the game after being used, the spaceship which lands on the asteroid is brought back to outer space.
• Pirate ships cannot land on asteroids.


Pirate ships :
• The cost to build a pirate ship is three ore, one of each.
• Pirate ships do not count as ships when a spaceship scoring is triggered.
• Pirate ships move with movement cards, for the same cost and with the same system limitations as standard ships.
• Pirate ships can only land on a planet with another player’s colony, factory and/or terraform. Pirate ships cannot land on a friendly planet or an asteroid.
• When a scoring card is played, a player can use his pirate ship on another player’s planet to “steal” the opponent’s pawns (spaceship, colony, factory, terraform) for this scoring. In this case, all the pawns on the planet are considered belonging to the pirate ship’s owner with regard to the present scoring. After the scoring has been carried out, the pirate ship is removed from the game. It can be built again by its owner in a later turn.
• When a production card is played, a player can use his pirate ship on another player’s planet to “steal” all the cards produced by this other player on this planet. The cards produced by the colony, factory and spaceship on this planet go the go to the pirate ship’s owner. Afterwards, the pirate ship is removed from the game. It can be built again by its owner in a later turn.
• If several players have pirate ships on planets that can be affected by the same scoring or production cards, the decision to use or not the pirate ship is take clockwise, starting with the active player.
• If another spaceship lands on the same planet, the pirate ship immediately leaves to outer space. This is true both if a spaceship of the original owner lands on the planet to bring it back to its original controller, or if a third player’s pirate ship lands on the same planet.
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Gláucio Reis
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Much better, Bruno. I like the idea that pirate ships are now one-shot. But I'm a little uncertain about balance in the resource stealing. A pirate ship costs three resources, and the maximum it can still is also three resources. Most of the time it will be one or two. I don't think harming another player is enough incentive in a multi-player game. It also discourages players a little from building factories (and I don't build them often already). Maybe give them the option to pay one energy to fly back into deep space. EDIT: I see this has the potential to be abused. So, rule that a pirate ship may only steal resources once per round (place it on the board until the start of the next round).

Using another player's buildings for scoring, on the other hand, is a very powerful action that may represent a net gain of up to 12 points over an opponent (a terraformer that switches the bonus). I suggest you at least make the pirate ship pay one energy to fire weapons. But even so, it may still be too powerful. This use of the pirate ship also adds another element of uncertainty to the scoring system, undesirably in my opinion.

The new asteroids are really better than the planetary rings. They have the potential to accelerate the game in the beginning or to provide some very needed resources at the right time. You may want to consider an uneven distribution, with systems with two of them.

A thematic note: Since the pirate ships are built by the players and are at their service (as opposed to acting independently), shouldn't they be called corsair ships?
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bruno faidutti
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GSReis wrote:


Using another player's buildings for scoring, on the other hand, is a very powerful action that may represent a net gain of up to 12 points over an opponent (a terraformer that switches the bonus). I suggest you at least make the pirate ship pay one energy to fire weapons. But even so, it may still be too powerful. This use of the pirate ship also adds another element of uncertainty to the scoring system, undesirably in my opinion.

Thta is exactly the point - we wanted to add some uncertainty to the scoring system, and opportunities to counter a strong scoring card one has correctly guessed.

[quote]The new asteroids are really better than the planetary rings. They have the potential to accelerate the game in the beginning or to provide some very needed resources at the right time. You may want to consider an uneven distribution, with systems with two of them.[/q]

You're perfectlyt right here. On further reflection, there's no reason to have the asteroids evenly distributed. We can have any distribution, including, why not, all in the same system with one or no planets !

Quote:
A thematic note: Since the pirate ships are built by the players and are at their service (as opposed to acting independently), shouldn't they be called corsair ships?

True !
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GSReis wrote:

The new asteroids are really better than the planetary rings. They have the potential to accelerate the game in the beginning or to provide some very needed resources at the right time. You may want to consider an uneven distribution, with systems with two of them.


Without having tried this, how would the asteroids accelerate the game? As I understood them they are just extra pieces placed into systems additionaly to planets. Landing on them has no effect on the number of planets and the ending condition.

I am eager to try the asteroids and corsairs out. I just bought Ad Astra and felt it a bit lacking of interaction and complexity. Now Bruno Faidutti openly discusses an expansion here. What better customer support could there be? kiss
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bruno faidutti
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bprevas wrote:

Should the player who played the VP card have the benefit of knowing if both of those pirates will be used before committing his own pirate ship? Is it a risk he takes when deciding to play that VP card? Or should the rule let him chose last after seeing what happens?

Admittedly, this may be a rare situation. Furthermore, it might be fair to make it a risk for the player who played the card in the same way that it rewards a player for anticipating a VP card will be played and thwarting it with a pirate in the first place. Also, at the time of scoring, the card-player could see the extra risk prior to deciding and then make an informed decision. I could see good arguments either way here.

For purposes of playtesting, what did you have in mind Mr. Faidutti?


My idea was "staring with the player who played the scoring card", but this was mostly for the sake of simplicity, not because it's necessary more interesting. You're right that it might be interesting to have him deciding last, so the question is "do such situation happen frequently enough to make this rule really useful". I don't know yet.
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Eric Rampson
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Bruno - these rules look great, I'll try them as soon as possible.

One nit-pick: "Pirate ships can only land on a planet with another player’s colony, factory and/or terraform. Pirate ships cannot land on a friendly planet or an asteroid."

"If another spaceship lands on the same planet, the pirate ship immediately leaves to outer space. This is true both if a spaceship of the original owner lands on the planet to bring it back to its original controller, or if a third player’s pirate ship lands on the same planet."

If a player can land a pirate ship on his/her own planet AS LONG AS SOMEONE ELSE'S PIRATE SHIP IS ALREADY THERE, as the second statement says, you need to alter the first statement to say, "Pirate ships can only land on a planet with another player’s colony, factory, terraformer, and/or pirate ship. Pirate ships cannot land on a friendly planet or an asteroid unless an unfriendly Pirate Ship is already present."


One question: Suppose my right-hand opponent plays a movement card. I choose not to move a ship. My left-hand opponent chooses to land his pirate ship on a planet already containing my pirate ship, sending my pirate ship into space. I am assuming that, since I already passed my chance to move a ship, I can't move the pirate ship this turn, correct?

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bruno faidutti
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My fault, I didn't completely adapt the movement rules to the "new" pirate ships, and it's not necessary now tyo have all these restrictions. Let's simlplify everything : you can land on a planet with a spaceship. If you land on a planet with a third player's pirate ship, the latter leaves the planet.

Here come the updated / simplified rules :

Ad Astra expansion : Pirates
v.2.2

Components :

• 10 pirate spaceships, two per color
• 15 asteroids ‘same resource pairings as on the 15 production cards)
(• Extra alien cards
• Six players rules)


Asteroids:
• Asteroids make for a faster game, especially in the first rounds. Players can use any number of asteroids, from none to all twelve. Six asteroids seems to be a good average number. Asteroids are chosen randomly, and the asteroids not used are placed back in the box without looking at them.
• Asteroids are placed face down in the different planetary systems. They can be placed more or less evenly, or grouped in one or two systems. Every distribution is possible from one asteroid in every system to all asteroid together in the same system. A system with three or more asteroids can have less than three planets.
• When a player moves a spaceship to or into a system with one or more asteroids, he secretly looks both at the hidden planets and asteroids.
• Instead of landing on a planet, the player can land on the asteroid. In this case, the asteroid is revealed and immediately removed from the game. The player immediately takes from the bank the two resource cards indicated on the asteroid.
• Since the asteroid is removed from the game after being used, the spaceship which lands on the asteroid is brought back to outer space.
• Pirate ships cannot land on asteroids.


Pirate ships :
• The cost to build a pirate ship is one of each ore.
• Pirate ships do not count as ships when a spaceship scoring is triggered.
• Pirate ships move with movement cards, for the same cost and with the same system limitations as standard ships.
• Pirate ships can only land on a planet controlled by another players (with another player’s colony, factory, spaceship and/or terraform).
• When a scoring card is played, a player can use his pirate ship on another player’s planet to “steal” the opponent’s pawns (spaceship, colony, factory, terraform) for this scoring. In this case, all the pawns on the planet are considered belonging to the pirate ship’s owner with regard to the present scoring. After the scoring has been carried out, the pirate ship is removed from the game. It can be built again by its owner in a later turn.
• When a production card is played, a player can use his pirate ship on another player’s planet to “steal” all the cards produced by this other player on this planet. The cards produced by the colony, factory and spaceship on this planet go the go to the pirate ship’s owner. Afterwards, the pirate ship is removed from the game. It can be built again by its owner in a later turn.
• If several players have pirate ships in the game, the decision to use or not the pirate ship is take clockwise, starting with the active player.
• If another pirate ship lands on the same planet, the pirate ship which was already there immediately leaves to outer space.
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Bryant Brown
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Orem
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Our gaming group played with an asteroid variant. I enjoyed playing with the asteroids. By obtaining two additional ore right at the start of the game, one can initially build at a faster rate.

Unfortunately the other members of the gaming group voted not to use the pirate ships in order to avoid confrontations.
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Paul D
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These ideas for an expansion sound fantastic (IMHO) -- the nature of the asteroid belts and space pirates integrate with and develop the theme nicely. A 6th player option would be cool. A replacement deck for the cards -- made from high quality stock -- would me sweet, but that's a minor note (and just wishful thinking).

I most like the idea of space pirates.IMHO I think employing them to offer increased player interaction and confrontation, something (IMHO) the game needs more of, without making it an all out wargame is great; and is something that fits well with the original theme. But I think the v1 rules Bruno Faidutti suggested were closer to the mark than these v2.2 rules (IMHO). It seems to me (and sounds from some of these other comments) that the space pirates have become too costly for limited use.

IMHO, the pirates should be cheap. Resorting to privateers should be something you don't really want to do, but the advantages they offer are just too tempting. Because war isn't a part of the original games, IMHO, it'd make sense for the pirates to offer a scoring disadvantage. So, what I'm suggesting is:
• The cost to build a pirate ship is blah. (I don't know what would be best/balanced, but make the space pirates cheap
• When one of your pirates enters the game, lose 1 VP. And, when the end game is triggered, lose 2 VPs for each space pirate you have in the game.
Or something like that. I don't know what the right number of negative VPs would be best/fairest. (NB: If the game ends by someone reaching 50 VPs, and that person had pirates in play, the game wouldn't then resume; instead it could just mean that the winner might be someone with less than 50 VPs.)

An expansion that included these sort of components/elements would, IMHO, be a must have. After all, some groups love (or only like to play games with) confrontation. While others don't, this sort of expansion gives the option of playing with space pirate or not, which makes the game more attractive to a wider range of player groups. IMHO.




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Paul D
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Oh, and official 2-player rules are a must. There's some unofficial one in other threads a few people use and it'd be nice to see something like them incorporated into an expansion. Sometimes you just want to sit down with the girlfriend or room-mate for an impromptu relaxing game (instead of organizing a proper gathering of gamers). This, along with the other elements that have been discussed, would augment the game from good to great. (And make it notably different from Settlers of Catan!)
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