Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
14 Posts

Rex: Final Days of an Empire» Forums » Variants

Subject: A couple of tweaks rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Nate Owens
United States
Saginaw
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I hate to be the guy who is questioning the balance of a game like this, but for us the Hacan have proven to be WAY overpowered. Generally, if the game looks like it'll go the distance, Hacan just sidles up with a couple of allies, who are very hesitant to move since they can share his win. Three of our four games have ended this way, and I'm wondering if it's a problem that's only come up in the shortened form of Dune that is Rex.

So I'm thinking of tweaking the game a little:

- No special victory conditions can be shared. Since the Xxcha win on their own if they predict, I think the same should be true for Hacan, and maybe for Sol. This will keep half the players from just sitting on the game in the last couple turns. Even if Hacan has some allies, they will actually try to push the game towards a normal victory. I only see this as a plus. Any reason why it wouldn't work?

- The Xxcha can't predict the special win conditions. I believe this was also the case in Dune, wasn't it?

Any thoughts? These are very simple clean changes that would probably help a game that I generally really like.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
flag msg tools
The Golden Camel UberBadge is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from or how it got there.
badge
No one expects the Spanish penguin!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Your two proposed changes, no special victory conditions can be shared and Xxcha can't predict special win conditions, were both in Dune. I've only played 2 games of Rex so far, one that ended early on round 2, and one that ended in Hacan victory. But so far I'm afraid that due to these rule changes to Rex and the shorter length of the game that Hacan victory condition is easy to meet, especially in an alliance. I support your changes, but would rather get a few more plays in before I start advocating it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Johnson
United States
Crystal Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Travis: Not quite correct -- The special victory conditions for Guild and Fremen are shared with allies. (I believe it says this on the Guild and Fremen player shields.) I agree with the rest of what you said.

Guild default victories were starting to prove too easy to accomplish even in Dune with 15-turn games, which is why I ended up adding a couple of house rules to make it a bit harder to stalemate the game. I really don't have nearly enough experience with Rex yet to suggest if anything should be changed there as well, but it wouldn't surprise me.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Sinkovits
United States
Glendale
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm right there with you. I don't want to question the balance either, but I share your sentiments about the Hacan end game win condition. The couple times we've played the Hacan were able to pretty much lock up the game for their end game victory, unless the other players deliberately agreed let another player win.

Generally speaking, I think the betrayal cards are meant to prevent the Hacan from just taking on a few allies and running the game out. With neither ally not necessarily needing to pursue strongholds as a primary objective they will have more chance to pursue their betrayal conditions against the Hacan.

I also think your idea of prohibiting the sharing of special victory conditions is pretty good, and shouldn't ruin the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yep - I had already considered these changes as well, and support them.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Travis Dean
United States
Escondido
CA
flag msg tools
The Golden Camel UberBadge is a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from or how it got there.
badge
No one expects the Spanish penguin!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tempus42 wrote:
Hi Travis: Not quite correct -- The special victory conditions for Guild and Fremen are shared with allies. (I believe it says this on the Guild and Fremen player shields.)


Really? You're one I really can't argue with, but I was completely unaware of this. I don't think I've ever seen the original player shields for Fremen or Guild in Dune, so I don't know specifically what they said. I just looked at the two variants I have from Print and Play versions, and they don't specify whether the full alliance wins or not.

I guess I've always assumed they win alone. But if they win in an alliance, then I definitely need to remember that for the next time I play Dune!

EDIT: Never mind, I found it on the player shields under Alliance. Yup, I've completely missed that rule each time I've played. Thank you for letting me know the correct way to play.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Your Xxxcha never predicted the Hacan round 8 win? I'm not going to comment on the balance or imbalance of Hacan/Xxxcha, just curious on whether or not your Xxxcha did this, especially after your first couple of games ended that way
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Sinkovits
United States
Glendale
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
SirHandsome wrote:
Your Xxxcha never predicted the Hacan round 8 win? I'm not going to comment on the balance or imbalance of Hacan/Xxxcha, just curious on whether or not your Xxxcha did this, especially after your first couple of games ended that way


This would stop the Guild from winning, but it wouldn't really "fix" the problem.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
K
United States
Oakland
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I realize that it wouldn't fix the theoretical problem. I'm just curious for more info on how his games went, i.e. if Hacan and his allies were paranoid at all of Xxxcha predictions and how that affected their behavior or the dynamics, because it doesn't sound like his allies had the fear of the turtles in them at all.

Assuming that the balance IS actually off and its not just playstyle or group dynamics (for now I'm giving the playtesters and designers benefit of the doubt that there isn't a glaring issue that can be discovered by people within 2-5 games... but if Hacan/Xxxcha does end up trivially broken that says a lot of bad things about FFG's playtesting), I don't think having every game come down to whether or not the Xxxcha predicted the Hacan would be good -- but fear of a Xxxcha prediction would surely affect the Hacan and his allies' willingness to turtle.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris J Davis
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Overtext pending moderation...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SirHandsome wrote:
(for now I'm giving the playtesters and designers benefit of the doubt that there isn't a glaring issue that can be discovered by people within 2-5 games... but if Hacan/Xxxcha does end up trivially broken that says a lot of bad things about FFG's playtesting)


Have you ever heard of FFG before? Or is this your first time?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Fluff Da Sheep
Belgium
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
4 out of 6 of our games have been won by Hacan default.
1 was won by Sol default.
1 was won by Stronghold victory in the midgame (by Barony+Sol).

I made a thread about this issue back when it was 3/3 Hacan defaults. That was weeks ago. It did not end well. Then again, it wasn't in the variants forum and got derailed IMMEDIATELY, so maybe this one will do better.

You can't remove alliance wins from Hacan or Sol defaults, because that would result in pure kingmaking. Alliance wins on defaults mean that even players in horrible positions can still contribute meaningfully and win. This is vital imo. A player who cannot win has no real reason to keep playing, and can only kingmake for whatever reason.

The Xxcha-can't-predict rule... yeah, it might help, or it might not. In the end I don't think it matters much. We've played half our games with and half our games without. Using the rule means Hacan knows it's safe to try for the default (so they might take that path more often, or sooner), but it also means Xxcha's gameplan never involves drawing out the game until round 8 (unless he's allied with Sol/Hacan and trying to win in alliance).

I acknowledge the problem, but I don't know how to fix it. All our games that ended in a default did have a turn where an alliance made a go for stronghold victory but failed (just), leaving them too weak to win but strong enough to prevent the opponents from winning.

I'd say the key is not striking for a stronghold victory if you cannot immediately secure it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Owens
United States
Saginaw
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SirHandsome wrote:
I realize that it wouldn't fix the theoretical problem. I'm just curious for more info on how his games went, i.e. if Hacan and his allies were paranoid at all of Xxxcha predictions and how that affected their behavior or the dynamics, because it doesn't sound like his allies had the fear of the turtles in them at all.

Assuming that the balance IS actually off and its not just playstyle or group dynamics (for now I'm giving the playtesters and designers benefit of the doubt that there isn't a glaring issue that can be discovered by people within 2-5 games... but if Hacan/Xxxcha does end up trivially broken that says a lot of bad things about FFG's playtesting), I don't think having every game come down to whether or not the Xxxcha predicted the Hacan would be good -- but fear of a Xxxcha prediction would surely affect the Hacan and his allies' willingness to turtle.


In theory I agree. But it didn't act like much of a deterrent for anyone in our group so far. The last game I played actually ended this way, and it felt pretty unsatisfying, actually. I think a big chunk of it was just player inexperience, which in this game is a very big deal.

I am given pause by the fact that most experienced Dune fans don't seem to see a major problem here. So I could be convinced that this is just the result of a bunch of noobs figuring out the game, a little like how Egypt tends to win Mare Nostrum before everyone figures out that they shouldn't keep trading tax cards.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Johnson
United States
Crystal Lake
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
San Il Defanso wrote:
I am given pause by the fact that most experienced Dune fans don't seem to see a major problem here. So I could be convinced that this is just the result of a bunch of noobs figuring out the game, a little like how Egypt tends to win Mare Nostrum before everyone figures out that they shouldn't keep trading tax cards.


I don't think it's entirely a noob issue. For what it's worth, I *did* think there was an issue in Dune as well. In Dune, the BG cannot predict the Guild or Fremen default victories. And even with 15 turns to play, Guild default victories were becoming too easy to pull off. (It wasn't really difficult enough to simply force a stalemate, whether the other players were helping you or not. But usually there are at least 1 or 2 other players indirectly helping you, because what's the alternative? Just let someone else have a stronghold victory to avoid the default victory?)

We do play with the same victory conditions that Rex made official: Need N+2 strongholds to win, where N = the number of factions in the alliance. If you don't play with this rule, an early alliance win is quite a bit too easy, no matter who's trying to stop it.

This is why I eventually instituted a couple of house rules to make stalemating a little more difficult:

1) Players can only exchange spice during the Collection Round (except for the Emperor's alliance power.) One big contributor to stalemates was the fact that everyone could pool money to fund whoever needed it to stop a win, and the Guild was usually a big player in this, of course. An even more restrictive version of this was made official in Rex, so this is already in place.

2) Conversion of the Shield Wall to a stronghold for the purposes of victory at a semi-random point about 2/3 of the way into the game. (Since we play only 10 turns in the tournament, the Shield Wall usually comes into play around turn 6-7.) I'm not sure if something similar can be done in Rex, but I will say that this has been a pretty good balancing rule. Getting 4 out of 5 strongholds for a 2-way alliance is pretty tough if the other players are not making mistakes. But getting 4 out of 6 strongholds seems to be just the right amount easier. Guild default victories are still quite possible, but it has to be planned and executed more carefully. Instead of happening > 30% of the time, it's down to < 10%.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul Kitchin
United States
Arizona
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Our group had a similar experience in our two games so far. First time (5 players) Hacan managed to sneak a late stronghold victory using his movement + special redeploy movement to take 2 strongholds and reach three after all other players in two duo-alliances exhausted each other's forces, but even without that stealth win, the stalemate win was looking very likely.

Second game (6 players) Hacan won on turn 8 timeout by repeatedly spoiling a triple alliance with precise spoiling attacks each turn. The triple alliance could have overcome this with better cooperation, but two of them were holding back a bit to satisfy Betrayal conditions. BUT Xxcha predicted the Hacan 8 win and stole the win, which was funny but ultimately not very fun.

Halfway through the game existing alliances were shaken up. The triple alliance formed. Hacan went solo to try his stalling tactic while keeping the option open to sneak three strongholds. Xxcha also went solo, we thought because he had checked out emotionally due to heavy losses, but actually he also wanted to stall the game knowing he could steal the Hacan timeout win. This left Jol'nar alone and without options. His two potential partners had more reason to stay solo to stall the game with spoiler attacks, so Jol'nar was pretty SOL due to heavy losses. This made the latter half of the game fairly dull for several players and with an unsatisfying conclusion. 4 of 6 players concluded after game two that Rex is just a bad game they don't want to play again! I want to find a way to address their concerns.

Part of the Hacan solution may be Betrayal cards. If Hacan picks up allies to stall with him, those allies don't need to achieve a lot, so they are free to pursue their Betrayal conditions. This should make Hacan a bit nervous about his allies, though he might get a chance to ditch his allies at the end (depending on Ceasefire cards) to protect himself from Betrayal, in which case that should make people nervous about stalling with Hacan!

Xxcha seemed a bit boring, because Hacan 8 seems like a pretty obvious choice. It also means up to half of the players in the game (Sol, Hacan, Xxcha) and maybe more through alliance with those three, have an interest in stalling, making for a potentially undynamic game. Or maybe Xxcha choosing Hacan 8 becomes so predictable that Xxcha becomes the new Hacan. That would both undermine part of the Hacan playstyle, and make the Xxcha secrecy element pretty irrelevant.

A possible Xxcha solution is disallow the Xxcha from choosing Hacan 8 or Sol 8 as their secret victory guess. But Xxcha could choose another player on turn 8 predicting that other player will be a Hacan/Sol ally sharing the timeout victory, and use that to steal the timeout victory indirectly.

That means Xxcha predicting a turn 8 timeout victory may be too risky, because Hacan/Sol might have the opportunity to ditch their alliance near the end of the game to protect themselves from Xxcha stealing their timeout win. That means other players cannot be as comfortable allying with Hacan/Sol and just stalling the game. Xxcha could already steal this win in the default rules, but now your Hacan ally has an extra incentive to use you to stall the game, then ditch you at the end to get a timeout win safely alone.

Perhaps this uncertainty would create enough extra incentive for a stronghold win in a 6 player game to reduce joint stalling tactics. It would allow everyone to win the same ways they can win in the default rules, but injects enough uncertainty that Hacan, Xxcha, and Sol are never fully predictable.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.