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Rex: Final Days of an Empire» Forums » General

Subject: Play balance of the factions rss

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Adam McLean
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For those who have gotten a few games in under their belt (or those who have some experience playing Dune) ... does it seem as if each faction could win the game on their own?

What I mean is: Do some of the factions need to be part of an alliance to have a chance?
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Travis Dean
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From what I've experienced and read, the BG/Xxxcha win frequently in an alliance, but almost never on their own. Their ability is so powerful that they make a great ally, so winning with an alliance is common. However, alone, they have a hard time getting units to the board. They're not a rich faction, and don't have any good way of acquiring spice/influence, so it's costly to put units on the board without placing free units when other players place. In Dune, it was easier to get into strongholds because an optional BG ability was to place a unit in the stronghold the active player was deploying to instead of the polar sink/galactic council.

Other than that, I don't have enough experience to say, but I think my short answer is "yes". I have read that the Fremen/Sol do have a more difficult time winning than the other factions do, but I don't personally feel this disadvantage is hugely significant.

Something else to keep in mind as far as alliances, the Lazax and Hacan are influence-rich factions, so they commonly ally with strong fighting factions that need money, Letnev and Jol-Nar. Sol are also good fighting factions, but have less need of influence. Then the Xxxcha, as mentioned before, are an appealing ally because of their powerful ability in battles. To a lesser extent, the Jol-Nar also have a remarkably powerful ability in battles. Of course, the Letnev are also nice to have because that effectively gives you 4 more traitor cards in battles.


My experience is entirely from Dune.
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Stephen Williams
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In my experience playing Dune, the factions are absolutely NOT balanced, and that's a good thing. Dune is not a game about fair and equal opportunity, it's not a game about upfront and honest game play. It is a game of treachery and deceit, of byzantine power struggles, bluffing and political mind games.

The player himself - his style, his choices, his ruthlessness - has as much of an impact on his odds of winning as the faction he chooses (or gets dealt.) If a person knows his opponents and how to play them, he has an advantage no matter what faction he gets. That's part of the charm of the game, in my opinion. Nothing (significant) is done at random, except moving the storm, I suppose.

I haven't seen all the changes made in Rex yet, but it seems to be fairly close to Dune, by and large. If you're the kind of person who wants a peaceful, friendly game, or something where everyone has an even chance of winning, Rex (Dune) is definitely not the game for you. Every faction CAN win, but they generally have to fight for it.
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Joel Tamburo
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So far it seems that in the process of resolving a lot of the ambiguities in the rules that Dune was famous for they nerfed all of the factions to a minor degree. Things like making the BG (now XCha) voice less fuzzy in execution (Rex is VERY specific on how the voice works).
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Klaude Thomas
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Joelist wrote:
So far it seems that in the process of resolving a lot of the ambiguities in the rules that Dune was famous for they nerfed all of the factions to a minor degree. Things like making the BG (now XCha) voice less fuzzy in execution (Rex is VERY specific on how the voice works).


I don't feel like I can guess where the balance lies without playing, as so many details are different, but my sense is that they are not all nerfed.

Bene-Gesserit / Xxcha

1) Mild Voice nerf. You can only command a 'not play'.
2) Large Prediction buff. It seems that you can predict the Emirates (Guild) end turn win. I've no idea why you would predict anything else?!
3) Coexistence buff. They've improved it mechanically, but since it happens in battles rather than movement you can better fine tune its use and... can you get 3-way battles now in a stronghold?!
4) Mild nerf on using worthless cards as Karamas.
5) It's a moderate nerf that spiritual advisors all land in (what I presume is) the Polar Sink (dropping their Advanced Character Advantage from Dune).
= buffed... but... why?

Harkonnen / Barony
1) Fair-minded nerf removing leader stealing.
2) Much needed nerf removing Karama power to swap hands.
= nerfed

Fremen / Sol
1) Much-needed buff on fighting as no Advanced Combat costs and you don't pay to land.
2) Probably a wash on movement (3 vs 2, and now everyone moves 2).
3) Mild nerf on storm partial immunity.
4) Mild nerf of token strength from loss of Fedaykin, probably balanced by not needing to pay for battles.
5) Much needed buff of Alliance power. Your allies get the free move from Sol Offensives (worms).
6) Additional mild token nerf, not now negating the doubled value of mechanised (Sardaukar) units.
7) Mild-medium nerf (depends on Dune rules version played), no more Karama to summon a worm.
= buffed... about time.

I'll look at the others later. Back to work!
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Travis Dean
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One nerf for Sol, correct me if I've missed something and I'm mistaken, they no longer treat the powerful Empire units as 1 instead of 2 power.
 
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Klaude Thomas
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Dolus wrote:
One nerf for Sol, correct me if I've missed something and I'm mistaken, they no longer treat the powerful Empire units as 1 instead of 2 power.


True! Fixed. They kept Sardaukar (Mechanised) and cut from the Fremen (Sol) both their negation and the Fedaykin tokens. A shame: they were two of the things I really liked about the Fremen. It's not too hard to see why, however. Firstly, design-wise, it isn't quite correct to give out an advantage that is directed at a single opponent. So that's likely the reason for cutting the negation. And then I am guessing that bringing tokens on for free makes Sol strong enough and Fedaykin felt unnecessary.

Here is my assessment of the other three powers.

Emirates of Hacan
1) Huge nerf, that you no longer get to choose your turn in the order.
2) Mild nerf, that you can no longer ship tokens back off planet.
3) Possible buff - the game is shorter.
4) Tiny nerf - no more Karama to prevent another player landing.
= nerfed

Universities of Jol-Nar
1) Medium nerf, no more +1 to your leader and immunity from being traitored (no more Kisatz Haderach).
2) Huge nerf, no more writing down the cards sold.
3) Barely a nerf, no more see their whole plan with Karama.
= nerfed... not easily justifed tbh

Lazax Empire
1) A mild buff that your mechanised units are no longer treated as normal units by any other power.
2) A mild nerf that you can no longer Karama for leaders or tokens back.
3) The alliance power is a miniscule nerf on balance. You cannot now directly pay for allies shipping or revivals, but you can just give them more than they need on bidding in order to indirectly pay for those other things. However, you can't be sure they will spend the spice you give them as you wish them to spend it, and you can't give them any spice if they are not bidding.
= unchanged

So with the huge caveat that one cannot pronounce too strongly on balance from reading the rules and cards and comparing to Dune, it seems to me that Sol, Lazax, Hacan, and the Barony are all about fine. Jol-Nar and Xxcha are troubling. I cannot see a strong reason to stop Jol-Nar writing down cards, and BG (Xxcha) were already the winningest power in Dune. Especially concerning is the ability to predict the Hacan turn 8 win, but the altered coexistence also puzzles me. The net effect may not be huge, especially given you don't get free landings across the map, but given how winning BG were anyway unchanged would still be unbalanced.
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Andy Stout
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vonklaude wrote:
Universities of Jol-Nar
1) Medium nerf, no more +1 to your leader and immunity from being traitored (no more Kisatz Haderach).
2) Huge nerf, no more writing down the cards sold.
3) Barely a nerf, no more see their whole plan with Karama.
= nerfed... not easily justifed tbh


Another huge nerf for Jol-Nar that is not as obvious: "no secret discussions". That means that the Jol-Nar can't tell his allies what's up for auction, nor can his allies tell the Jol-Nar what they need! It also means that Jol-Nar can't sell information in general, or tell his allies where the next spice blow is, any of that.

Do they realize that the "no secret discussion" rule has HUGE gameplay & balance effects?
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Travis Dean
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dragonstout wrote:
vonklaude wrote:
Universities of Jol-Nar
1) Medium nerf, no more +1 to your leader and immunity from being traitored (no more Kisatz Haderach).
2) Huge nerf, no more writing down the cards sold.
3) Barely a nerf, no more see their whole plan with Karama.
= nerfed... not easily justifed tbh


Another huge nerf for Jol-Nar that is not as obvious: "no secret discussions". That means that the Jol-Nar can't tell his allies what's up for auction, nor can his allies tell the Jol-Nar what they need! It also means that Jol-Nar can't sell information in general, or tell his allies where the next spice blow is, any of that.

Do they realize that the "no secret discussion" rule has HUGE gameplay & balance effects?


That's a very good point. I hadn't considered that, but that was a major advantage that the Atreides could wield and influence people with, that now the Jol-Nar has lost entirely.
 
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Andy Stout
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He also can't tell his allies what weapons/defenses their opponents might have, etc.

I think this is actually a much bigger deal than the "no writing things down" rule, which I'm coming to appreciate.
 
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Evan
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A few things worth keeping in mind:

1) The Jol-Nar can use the "you're out of the auction once you've passed" rule to take advantage of play order, strategically providing as much information as they can at any given time.

2) You can say whatever you like, you just have to be okay with everyone else knowing you've said it. Which is often not that bad; for example, unless I'm mistaken, you can totally reveal other players' strategy cards, or in many cases you could get away with something like "I think you're going to want to use that one you just bought." That is to say, your ability has given you a small amount of shared private information with each player, which can be used as the basis for misleading or otherwise coded public messages.

3) More generally, even if the "no secret discussions" rule diminishes their usefulness as an ally in certain respects, it makes them way better at looking out for themselves. I mean, think of the opportunities for shenanigans that this opens up. You can use the rules as a pretext either for keeping secrets or for making information (true or otherwise) publicly known. "Sorry I had to lie to you, ally, but as you can see, it was the only way to help you beat that other guy. I care about you."
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Brian
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dragonstout wrote:
He also can't tell his allies what weapons/defenses their opponents might have, etc.

I think this is actually a much bigger deal than the "no writing things down" rule, which I'm coming to appreciate.


He should still be able to do that.
 
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Disgustipater
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If you want to get technical, it says, "Players cannot discuss strategies secretly with each other." Nothing is stopping the Jol-Nar player from just showing their allies the Strategy card up for bid. Or using a reference sheet (index of Strategy card titles) to point at which cards are up for bid or which card their opponent has.

ninja
 
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Brian
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Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

Nothing is stopping JN from telling a person what their opponent in a fight has access to though. Not like that needs to be secret.
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Disgustipater
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serdudds wrote:
Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

It says, "your Strategy cards." It made no mention of ones up for bid. But I was joking anyway. If you are going to do that, you might as well just allow secret discussions.
 
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Travis Dean
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Disgustipater wrote:
serdudds wrote:
Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

It says, "your Strategy cards." It made no mention of ones up for bid. But I was joking anyway. If you are going to do that, you might as well just allow secret discussions.


But if we were getting nitpicky, you're just peeking at the card. You are not authorized by any means to reveal cards from the deck.
 
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Dolus wrote:
Disgustipater wrote:
serdudds wrote:
Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

It says, "your Strategy cards." It made no mention of ones up for bid. But I was joking anyway. If you are going to do that, you might as well just allow secret discussions.


But if we were getting nitpicky, you're just peeking at the card. You are not authorized by any means to reveal cards from the deck.

Nor are you forbidden from doing so... And not everything that isn't expressly allowed is necessarily forbidden (or else you wouldn't need rules that forbid certain actions).
 
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Chris J Davis
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sigmazero13 wrote:
Dolus wrote:
Disgustipater wrote:
serdudds wrote:
Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

It says, "your Strategy cards." It made no mention of ones up for bid. But I was joking anyway. If you are going to do that, you might as well just allow secret discussions.


But if we were getting nitpicky, you're just peeking at the card. You are not authorized by any means to reveal cards from the deck.

Nor are you forbidden from doing so... And not everything that isn't expressly allowed is necessarily forbidden (or else you wouldn't need rules that forbid certain actions).


Rules that forbid certain actions are usually in contradiction to previous rules that allow certain actions, or else to simply clarify when there may be ambiguity. They are not there to tell you what you can't do when there has never been any previous indication that you could. That would result in The Infinite Rulebook.
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Brian
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Disgustipater wrote:
serdudds wrote:
Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

It says, "your Strategy cards." It made no mention of ones up for bid. But I was joking anyway. If you are going to do that, you might as well just allow secret discussions.


yeah, but it also doesn't say I can't take someone else's strategy cards and throw them face up. While that's a bit more black and white than the above, I'm pretty sure the spirit is implied in the previous rule..
 
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bleached_lizard wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:
Dolus wrote:
Disgustipater wrote:
serdudds wrote:
Actually, I thought I saw rules to the effect of, "Lie and say whatever you like, but don't actually show the cards."

It says, "your Strategy cards." It made no mention of ones up for bid. But I was joking anyway. If you are going to do that, you might as well just allow secret discussions.


But if we were getting nitpicky, you're just peeking at the card. You are not authorized by any means to reveal cards from the deck.

Nor are you forbidden from doing so... And not everything that isn't expressly allowed is necessarily forbidden (or else you wouldn't need rules that forbid certain actions).


Rules that forbid certain actions are usually in contradiction to previous rules that allow certain actions, or else to simply clarify when there may be ambiguity. They are not there to tell you what you can't do when there has never been any previous indication that you could. That would result in The Infinite Rulebook.

That's a fair point, but when it comes to table talk, the line of what's allowed and not is always vague unless specifically stated.

The rules don't say you are allowed to tell people what you are doing as you move, but I think it's pretty much accepted that you CAN do so. It doesn't give guidelines about what your discussions may be about, only what they CANNOT be (ie, Secret).

As such, the rules on whether you can talk about what cards you've SEEN from other players is not clear. I would think that IS allowed, since table talk is not forbidden and talking about that information is not expressly forbidden. I think the precedent of the Jol-Nar's being able to talk about their cards seems to indicate that in general, you can talk about any information, you just can't "prove" it by showing. The same would apply to Sol - if they see that the next Bombardment is going to harm their ally, they can tell them.

Of course, it would have been nice if it was explicitly clear, but when it comes to table talk, I lean more towards the "it's allowed unless it says otherwise" side (and there are some games that DO have rules for what you are not allowed to share).
 
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Travis Dean
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I don't disagree with telling other players what cards or information you've seen. That is perfectly acceptable in open discussion. What is (implicitly) not allowed is physically revealing the face of an opponent's card or a card you otherwise do not own. You can say what it is, but not reveal it.
 
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