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Subject: Resource flow between players - trading and bribing rss

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Sigma Nil
Norway
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So... it's a bit early for me to start tweaking eclipse (only played it for the first time yesterday), so it will be quite some time before I start testing this. But I thought I'd throw the idea out there in case someone had any interresting comments. ;-)

When playing TI3, my group always used a rule (probably a house-rule, as we use A LOT of house rules for TI3, but I'm not sure) that you could give trade-goods to another player at any time and for any reason. This led to some very interresting diplomacy, especially when bidding-races start between two players trying to get a third party to do something or not do something (like attacking one of the two players). There were no rules that you have to stick to the agreements made after taking the money, but of course you would ruin your player reputation if you didn't.

Anyway... I miss a mechanism like this in eclipse. So I was wondering about the following rule:

Trading resources
In games with more than 3 players, any player may at any time during the action phase offer to open a trade with the player whose turn it currently is. The player whose turn it is may offer to open a trade with any other player. A trade means that the players exchange some amounts of resources (money,science and/or materials) and/or promises of doing certain things in-game (like attacking a third party or NOT attacking the other party of the trade, leaving a certain system alone, researching a certain tech if possible and so on). If accepted, the trade takes place immediately. The details of the trade are worked out by the players.

This rule both lets players interact with the current player during their own down-time ("I'll give you materials if you build ships with them and attack the Planta this round.") and allows more diplomacy. And even piracy and extortion ("I'll destroy those starbases unless you give me some money right now!") Of course, this kind of negotiations greatly increases play-time, and so will only be used when time allows.
 
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Timo Hohkala
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This would somewhat devaluate the balance between aliens and humans, since one of the humans strong points is the flexibility they get from their 2:1 trade rate.

One reason why Eclipse plays so streamlines is the simple diplomacy. No doubt some future expansions will revolve around that aspect of the game.
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Thomas Büttner-Zimmermann
Germany
München
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And leaving open the discussion, WHAT is traded (promises and so on), it is like giving ressources for free. Are those promises mandatory? If so, how do you keep track, what promises EXACTLY were made?
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Volker S.
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You could invent a fourth resource "Trade Goods" with its own marker.

Any resource received immediately becomes a Trade Good on your sheet. Since you cannot do anything with Trade Goods, you can convert it with your race's normal exchange rate.

Under those circumstances exchanging resources at any time could be pretty interesting and would strengthen the humans as diplomats.
 
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Timo Hohkala
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Introducing trade goods would just make it pointless, who would ever want to do that? I'm generally hesitant about accepting house rules, but I'll more than gladly discus my opinions.

Now IF you'd want to implement trade between playes, just keep it simple and open trade that can be negotiated, i.e. "I give you 2 money for your 3 science". Although you might want to remove the ambassador cubes since it might throw of the balance too greatly. Thay already emulate the trade with the placed cubes.

And perhaps limit trading to those who you have diplomatic relationships to. I don't mean the traded ambassodors, but merely the connected sectors. You can always promise to give the resources later when you might connect to his empire.

Also I think promises are made to broken, no need to keep track of them. That's life.
 
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Sigma Nil
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Actually, the trade goods solution makes it easier to bribe humans than other races, and makes orions especially resistant to bribes... Somehow I like the sound of that. ;-)

As I see on-the-spot bribes to do stuff as the most important reason to implement this, that might be a good idea, even if bribery becomes a bit more expensive. (It limits the value of the system when it comes to resource-for-resource trading, but the ambassador-tiles already handle that kind of trade-simulation quite acceptably.)
 
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Sigma Nil
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twibs wrote:
Also I think promises are made to broken, no need to keep track of them. That's life.


Agreed. But people I play with have very long memories, so I don't think they would be broken very often.
 
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Volker S.
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If anyone goes with my Trade Goods idea before I do - please give feedback!
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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There is already a mechanism for trade in the game: ambassadors.

Bribery is an evil that perpetuates the worst aspects of multiplayer games and should be stamped out everywhere.
 
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Michael Evans
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Bloomington
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Here's a "trade" idea: You can trade with somebody who has one of your diplomats. To trade, you spend resources according to your trade ratio (2-to-1 for humans, 3-to-1 for aliens except orions) and you OPPONENT may choose what resource to gain instead of you. That way you can make gifts to your allies but it's costly.

Or I suppose once per turn you could swap resources (I lose a research and you gain one, or I gain 1 materials and lose 1 research, you gain 1 research and lose 1 materials) but I think the amount you can trade should be low. But frankly, I feel that's what the population cube income boost you get from the diplomat represents that already.

I'm not crazy about the idea of binding promises in a game unless there's some kind of card (like TI3's recent "Concession" cards) or other mechanic in place to enforce it. But I like the idea of being able to give a SMALL amount of resources to other players.

And to the poster above me: I seriously hope you're joking. If not, no need to defend your statement... I'll just write you off as crazy and that can be that.
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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Instead of trade goods, just give every player 5 VP that they can bribe other players with. Much more direct.
 
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Sigma Nil
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Whymme wrote:
Instead of trade goods, just give every player 5 VP that they can bribe other players with. Much more direct.


Indeed. That is certainly also an idea that could be tested, and it has the advantage that it doesn't interfere with other game mechanics. (I assume that any such VPs NOT used by the end of the game would be forfeit.)
 
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I would tend to agree with the poster who said this is already in the game through the Ambassadors mechanic. Exchanging Ambassadors increases production of a chosen resource to represent trade, scientific cooperation and the like, and also gives you an extra VP. It's a clever mechanic which would be diluted by any house rule, in my opinion.

The only problem with Ambassadors is that they are only available in games with at least 4 players, which means I won't get to see them very often!
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