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Subject: Expansion Thoughts from a Non-Wargamer rss

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David Jacobs
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I know that there is an expansion in the works for Space Empires and I am excited for what is to come. I did just want to share some of my thoughts/fears, as a non-wargamer, and get some of your thoughts.

First: I am excited about the addition of races. I think they will be useful in diversifying the strategy used and add to the space empire building of the theme. My one worry is time and complexity. As a non-wargamer I feel that the game is just the right amount of time. Any longer and the game would start to lose what makes it so perfect.

Second: I have heard that there will be a way for ships to gain experience after combat. I think this is a really cool idea and it will again add to the theme of the game. No longer will the ships be nameless but now your ships are piloted by a crew. A crew that evolves as the game develops. As a non-wargamer I do have a fear about this one. Everyone I play with is a non-wargamer and so far they all have loved the game. I have been asked to play it several times with them and the complexity at Advanced Rules is "just right". The problem is that we always use the automatic upgrade feature so we do not have to individually track each ship and their technology level. It is rather tedious to return ships to ship yards in order to become upgraded. While I do understand it to be thematic I have yet to get anyone to try this rule. Everyone seems to prefer the auto-upgrade. The reason against using the non-auto upgrade option is the bookkeeping involved. So as a non-wargamer I hope there is an easy and effective way to keep track of experience that does not require book keeping of individual ships. Perhaps a counter that follows each ship or an easy piece that shows the level of experience for all players to see.

Third: I really do like the ship counters. The art is great and the different ships are easily distinguishable. With that said as a non-wargamer I am used to thicker counters. Something more like what you would find in dominant species. While this may not be something found in an expansion I would really appreciate it if GMT would release a way to get the counters. Most importantly I would like to see the explore counter upgraded over the ships and group counters.

Fourth: An expansion to the scenarios. I have played many solo and many multi player games. I would love to see more ways to set up the board. This would include specific ways to set up the planets! I do like keeping them randomized but it would be cool to also play a pre-set game that is balanced. This would also create some great ways for alternative conditions for victory such as capture key points on the map or victory point conditions.

Overall I really look forward to an expansion! I already really like the game and have yet to have a problem with the games length even among all non-wargamers. With that said if an expansion lengthens the game time significantly and/or increases the amount of book keeping I know I will never be able to get any expansion on the table. I am interested in what both non-wargamers and wargamers think.
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David Debien
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I do not identify myself as a Euro Gamer, Ameritrasher or War-Gamer. I enjoy and play all three. My collection would probably identify me as heavily Euro Game influenceed, but I have a solid back ground in Wargames and Ameritrash after years of playing nothing but those types of games.

That said, I wory that SE:4X will lose its core audience, which are the war gamers, if it's turned into something it was not inended to be. I am willing to give races and victory conditions a chance, but I like this game for what it is, which is a war game.

Also, the game is simple at its heart. If you have a rules question, boil it down to the intent of the designer to make things as simple as possible and the answer to your question will likely be sitting right there in front of you.

Every new rule, victory condition, and alien starting race will serve to complicate the game. To me, the greatest accomplishment of the game is its simplicity...a simplicity which adds to, rather than detracts from, the end product.

Jim spent 20 years paring this game down to the streamlined beauty we have today. We already have Twilight Imperium. SE:4X is its own game and stands on its own merits.
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Guido Gloor
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I am usually a big friend of expansions - Battleship Galaxies for example, I can't wait for them. More cards, more ship types, more options, more strategies, more awesome. That game needs expansions in order to really shine.

But with SE:4X I really struggle with coming up with anything that would improve the game significantly. It's so totally self-contained and complete and elegant. Everything fits so perfectly well together. And everything I could possibly think of is easily mapped with some minor change within the framework of the existing rules.

Custom races? Well, what else than minor advantages in a tech or two could they possibly be? I don't even see special racial ships as making sense, except maybe a flagship with some special powers; but then, what could those powers be with tech being as abstracted as it is, and how would those substantially differ from Dreadnoughts (that are very individual though tech by the time you reach them, too)?
Space monsters? How are those different from the Danger systems and Doomsday Machines the game has, apart from slightly different fluff?
More ship types? If so, what kind of? I mean, all the basic roles we know from both classical marine and marine IN SPACE are covered. Even death stars and the likes, because what else are those than bases?
Tech changes (like bases with long-range lasers or something)? Well, that doesn't need new components that aren't perfectly printable.

That leaves, essentially, deluxe counters and scenario expansions. The latter are something the designer actually already provides (see the recent and awesome thread with OFFICIAL Alternate Victory Condition and New Scenarios), and the former are not worthy of an expansion IMHO, maybe a special and separate purchase. Experience I like, but that doesn't really need additional components because it can easily be tracked in a maybe slightly updated fleet sheet.

So in short, just like I thought for a bit about whether I'd need a second game box for some reason because the game is so awesome and didn't find a reason for that, I don't see what the thought of an expansion should make me excited about. The game itself is exciting enough.
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Chris Wilcoxon
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haslo wrote:
So in short, just like I thought for a bit about whether I'd need a second game box for some reason because the game is so awesome and didn't find a reason for that, I don't see what the thought of an expansion should make me excited about. The game itself is exciting enough.


With the board being mounted and some people wanting counter trays or the like a slightly larger box may come in handy (of cousre it would be mostly empty at purchase...)
 
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Ocean Druen
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The game does feel like it has been put together perfectly (esp with the advanced rules).

I've made it known that I think custom races are a bad idea. My current argument is that when the empires come into contact with each other they are sufficiently different (one may focus on carriers, and another on larger faster ships). I also like the idea that a race is not leaning towards a certain strategy from the beginning.

There are some technologies that I think would be interesting, for example phasing: allows ships to pass though black hole spaces and do not need to stop at asteroid and nebula spaces. Particle beams: needs a certain engine size because they take a lot of energy but they can bypass shields (may be too powerful). Exploration 2: allows scanning of enemy fleets.

New ship types would also be interesting. Interceptors: fighter class ships have to attack these first, can not damage any ship with a hull more than one. Corvettes: class B hull size 1, no defense. Tugs, allows movement of shipyards and bases.

Marines would also be nice, they can be carried in a noncombat ship (transport) and be able to take colonies by ground combat (reduces colony by 1). they can also capture non combat & non transport ships after a combat instead of destroying them.

I'm sure there are plenty of ideas floating around.
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Chris Berger
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You could also have buildings on your colonies - which opens up a whole other can of worms.
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Ocean Druen
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Too many worms,upsetting the balance by having too large of a tech tree and too many options just adds too much to the bookkeeping.
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Chris Berger
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DarkTori wrote:
Too many worms,upsetting the balance by having too large of a tech tree and too many options just adds too much to the bookkeeping.


Is is called SEX4. I mean SEX 4X. Every 4X I ever heard of has buildings on your planets. I demand buildings.

shake
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Cracky McCracken
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Quote:
I know that there is an expansion in the works for Space Empires and I am excited for what is to come.


There is? Do mind if i ask for a link to info about this. This is the first i've heard about it. Thanks.
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Jim Krohn
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Quote:
Every new rule, victory condition, and alien starting race will serve to complicate the game. To me, the greatest accomplishment of the game is its simplicity...a simplicity which adds to, rather than detracts from, the end product.

Jim spent 20 years paring this game down to the streamlined beauty we have today. We already have Twilight Imperium. SE:4X is its own game and stands on its own merits.


Quote:
But with SE:4X I really struggle with coming up with anything that would improve the game significantly. It's so totally self-contained and complete and elegant. Everything fits so perfectly well together. And everything I could possibly think of is easily mapped with some minor change within the framework of the existing rules.


David and Guido, thank you very much for the kind words.

I want to keep that simplicity. It will be my guiding philosophy on any expansion. In general, my goal is to provide a group of independent optional rules. They would all work together and could be used as a group or they could be added individually according to a group's taste.

Quote:
How are those different....?


...and that is my other goal. I don't want to add anything in the expansion that does not add significantly to the game.

Quote:
Racial Advantages...


Here is where I am at on these - I want them to do the following:

- Add something to the game that could not just be purchased in the tech tree.
- Be secret at the start of the game. I'm sure a bidding variant will be suggested by someone eventually, but my goal is for them to work being secret.
- Be powerful enough so that they matter. In some cases be extra powerful and be offset by a corresponding disadvantage.
- Be thematic.
- (At least in some cases) Alter a player's strategy significantly enough that the game will play differently and yield a unique experience.
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Jim Krohn
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Cracky wrote:
Quote:
I know that there is an expansion in the works for Space Empires and I am excited for what is to come.


There is? Do mind if i ask for a link to info about this. This is the first i've heard about it. Thanks.


Cracky,

I'm working on one, GMT has said they are interested, and Martin, the developer, (and friends) are ready to give it a go.

All of that makes it sound like a done deal, but it isn't. Any expansion I submit has to "pass muster". It won't go up on P500 until GMT is convinced it is good enough.

A lot of work has been done already. I'm hopeful.
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Cracky McCracken
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Thanks for the reply Jim!

(nevermind about the link starshadow )

If i see a SE4x expansion on a GMT P500, i'll be a orderin it. That's a done deal. Take your time with it though Jim, this game's got a lot of layers to it just as it is. it really does.
 
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Darrell Hanning
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I guess I can't appreciate the concerns of some that any expansion might "ruin" the game.

Last I checked, the purchase (much less use) of expansions was a choice, not mandatory. If you don't like what an expansion offers, don't use it.

If you do like it, but not the way it's implemented, write up your own rules for how you want to change it.

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Guido Gloor
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DarrellKH wrote:
I guess I can't appreciate the concerns of some that any expansion might "ruin" the game.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that I'd love an expansion for any game I like, including this one It's just that personally, I'd have a hard time coming up with stuff that would make sense.

But then, Chaos in the Old World (the game I had thought to be un-expand-able) pulled it off, too.
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Cracky McCracken
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You know what would be a crazy sick expansion for SE4x? Getting with Majestic Twelve Games and publishing a Starmada: The Admiralty Edition conversion to allow players to run individual battles as game sessions. Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. has done this with Star Fleet Battles and it is sweet.

holy crap that would be cool.

The challenge would using their Shipbuilder freeware to build ships as the games progress to compensate for the differing tech levels. Counters would be easy, just up to six lettered versions of each type of combat ship...

This may be a DIY project lurking here... ninja

 
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Ocean Druen
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Cracky wrote:
You know what would be a crazy sick expansion for SE4x? Getting with Majestic Twelve Games and publishing a Starmada: The Admiralty Edition conversion to allow players to run individual battles as game sessions. Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. has done this with Star Fleet Battles and it is sweet.


There goes a month and several tables to keep it set up!!
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Jim Krohn
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Quote:
You know what would be a crazy sick expansion for SE4x? Getting with Majestic Twelve Games and publishing a Starmada: The Admiralty Edition conversion to allow players to run individual battles as game sessions. Amarillo Design Bureau has done this with Star Fleet Battles and it is sweet.


On a separate note, I have been working on a tactical space game for the last 5 or 6 years. I really like it, but it is not quite there yet. It is simple and quick (depending on the size of fleets used).

I can't currently use it to fight out SE battles, however.
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Edward Wehrenberg
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casualgod wrote:


Jim spent 20 years paring this game down to the streamlined beauty we have today. We already have Twilight Imperium. SE:4X is its own game and stands on its own merits.


Wonderful statement here, David.
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Mick Weitz
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Just a thought- All ships already require an extra (secret) counter to go underneath (the number counter). Ship status (veteran, crazed, whatever) could easily be tracked by providing number counters with another status alongside. Something like 2V for a two squadron fleet of veteran ships. The same can be done for things like flagships ( 1F), leaders on ships ( 1L ) or any other situation. Seems like that extra number counter could be put to good use (and we NEED more number counters anyway!)

Good Gaming~! Mick
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David Debien
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Archilochus wrote:
Just a thought- All ships already require an extra (secret) counter to go underneath (the number counter). Ship status (veteran, crazed, whatever) could easily be tracked by providing number counters with another status alongside. Something like 2V for a two squadron fleet of veteran ships. The same can be done for things like flagships ( 1F), leaders on ships ( 1L ) or any other situation. Seems like that extra number counter could be put to good use (and we NEED more number counters anyway!)

Good Gaming~! Mick


This kind of thing can easily be tracked on the fleet tracking sheet.
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David Jackman
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casualgod wrote:
Archilochus wrote:
Just a thought- All ships already require an extra (secret) counter to go underneath (the number counter). Ship status (veteran, crazed, whatever) could easily be tracked by providing number counters with another status alongside. Something like 2V for a two squadron fleet of veteran ships. The same can be done for things like flagships ( 1F), leaders on ships ( 1L ) or any other situation. Seems like that extra number counter could be put to good use (and we NEED more number counters anyway!)

Good Gaming~! Mick


This kind of thing can easily be tracked on the fleet tracking sheet.


My main thought about expansions, right here - You could pretty easily track a lot of things by only modifying the tracking sheet.

Ship exp, heroes, captains. All it would take is a note by the sheet.
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Dr. Urza, PhD of Dungeon Crawl
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I mentioned this in another thread, but I think the best avenue of expansion is through additional exploration markers. You can add more flavor to the game, without adding additional complexity -- the details of these counters need only be referenced when the counter is discovered.
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