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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Tweak of Nebula rules rss

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Having scoured the Forums for any mention of this idea, and coming up blank, I thought I would post it myself. Nebula rules state, “A Fleet defending a Nebula receives +1 to its combat rolls during any Space Battle here”

It occurred to me it might be more accurate that the attacking fleet should instead receive a -1 to combat rolls rather than the defender getting a bonus. To me, this would seem to more accurately represent the difficulty in ousting a fleet hidden in the Nebula. It would also then follow that PDS’s using Deep Space Cannon would also receive a -1 to combat rolls OR one could even take it further to say that PDS cannot fire into a Nebula.

The idea came up during a session in which nothing but empty systems and the Nebula sat between the Letnev and the Jol-Nar. The Letnev planned to use the Nebula as their gateway into Jol-Nar space by lurking there until ready to strike. They felt it was a bit unrealistic that the Jol-Nar could pepper their fleet with DSCannons while the Letnev were supposedly “hidden” in the Nebula. We decided not to house-rule it on the fly, but I thought I’d see if anyone else in the TI community had every tried such an idea or had any comments as to why it would not work for game balance reasons.
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Stephen Williams
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tacocat wrote:

It occurred to me it might be more accurate that the attacking fleet should instead receive a -1 to combat rolls rather than the defender getting a bonus. To me, this would seem to more accurately represent the difficulty in ousting a fleet hidden in the Nebula.


The nebula doesn't interfere with your weapons' ability to fire once you're inside, it just makes it a bit harder to detect the exact positions of the enemy fleet already positioned therein, thus the defenders get a bonus because they've had time to set up in ambush positions.

As for PDSes, the damn things can fire at targets that are lightyears away. They can handle a little space fog.

In my many years of gaming, I have found it infinitely simpler to come up with fluff that explains the rules, rather than making rules to fit your fluff. Firstly because anyone can come up with fluff to support the rules they want to play with, and secondly because once you start house ruling technicalities like this, it can be a very slippery slope, which only leads to more and more rule arguments and longer play times over the years. It can also be difficult or disruptive to invite new people to your table if you have a laundry list of tiny house rules that alter how the game plays compared to what they're used to.
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Interesting, not the reaction I was expecting at all.

The point I was trying to make was not one of thematic eye candy but rather trying to create a deeper strategic Point of Interest on the game board.

Your point is well taken with regards to fiddly rule changes that in the end achieve the same result. I'm a bit red faced at the very suggestion. +1 this, -1 that, what difference does it make, right?

And by tossing that fluff out, I can more easily distill the essence of what I thought was an interesting new idea. A PDS firing penalty can turn the Nebula into more than just a convenient place to retreat.

The Nebula is the closest thing to a "fortress hex" (as far as the basic rules go at least.) It provides the equivalent of a melee bonus to the defender should someone decide to attack you inside the "fortress". The idea of the PDS penalty was to provide a corresponding ranged combat bonus to the occupier of the "fortress". This promotes the Nebula from a mere defensive hideout to a staging point that can be incorporated into an offensive campaign. The TI equivalent of massing your troops in the forest before charging out to attack the horde of enemy archers. Currently the Nebula is closer to massing in a desert: slow movement and no cover

Personally, it seems to me a Nebula is closer to the space equivalent of a forest than a desert. Maybe that's just me?

Think next time I play, I'll implement a "-1 to PDS fire into a Nebula" rule and see if that adds any flavor. Maybe after that try a "no PDS fine into a Nebula" rule though my gut says that will be too drastic.

Thanks for the input. Very helpful as always
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Ger Lam
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also, the "no pds fire inside" is already taken by Ion Storm, if memory serves right.

You may want to switch them around.

Nebulas hide against PDS Fire and the Fighters on-board scanners are not powerful enough to identify targets(while they can still be shot down).

Ion Storms interfere with the engines and slow you to a crawl, plus a defender inside can take pot shots while the shields of an attacker adjust to the static jamming from the storm, but it does not prevent PDS bombardment.

If thats more of your fluff, just swap their effects around, gameplaywise, it all stays the same, but can make more sense ^_^
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Also, I'd like to think of the Nebula not as a fortress, more like a forest.

As stated above, the defender gets +1 because he hides behind a tree, so the attacker has difficulty spotting him, giving de defender an advantage.

As far as PDS go, think of them as a catapult. It doens tmatter if they see your ship, all they do is fire into the forest. If they hit the tree you hide behind, you will die of the tree falling on you.Since the tree isnt harder to hit then anything else catapultwise, PDS's do not get a -1.
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