Germany
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Hi, I have worked out a new optional rule and would like to hear your thoughts about it.

I really love the idea of units gaining experience in combat. But there are some issues with introducing this in Twilight Imperium: How to mark the experienced units / how to differ them from normal units? How to keep it easy?

I experiemented with extra tiles, little badges and even water based board markers to label the units. But it's either too time consuming, confusing, or the handling is a real pain... (or you get dark fingers from the water based board markers...).

So I came up with the idea of marking units with very small rubber bands like this:
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/261/43630002ev9.jpg/
(They are also available in different colors).
You may get them at a orthodontist, they are normally used for braces/retainers.
They are easy to attach to all units (even Ground Forces, PDS and Fighters), easy to remove and they stay where they are when moving units arround. Of course you can identify experienced units easily. I admit, it's not the most beautiful solution... But for our group the fun and coolness of experienced units are much bigger :)
So we call them Rubber Ribbon Bars of Experience! ;)

But wait, what is an experienced unit by the way? The rule reads like this:
"After combat, the winner may select surviving units equal to the number of bygone combat rounds. The winner rolls a separate die for each selected unit. On 9+ the unit gains a permanent experience marker, which grants it +1 on all combat rolls.
Units with multiple die rolls (War Suns, Flagships, etc.) only get +1 on combat rolls for 1 of their combat dice per experience marker. So for these units, the markers stack. Example: A War Sun with two experience markers rolls two dice on 2+ and one die on the normal 3+."


So normally there are only 2 or 3 combat rounds, resulting in like only one experienced unit for the winner in most cases. So it doesn't ruin the balance of the whole game and it's easy to fall in love with the own experienced units to keep them alive :)

Some alternatives for experimenting:
- Experience roll only on a 10 instead of 9+. (Not really recommended, only if you really want to keep the experienced units rare and special.)
- Roll the experience dice at the end of every combat ROUND instead of the end of whole combat, so you don't need to count combat rounds. So not only the winner of the combat will roll, both players will role.
- For every enemy experienced unit you destroy you may make an experience roll on 5+ instead of 9+ at the end of combat.
- If the stacking of several experience markers to one unit is too complicated, you can also take only one marker on units with multiple die rolls and then all die rolls get a +1. But maybe then experienced War Suns are too powerful (hitting three dice on 2+).

Our group hasn't played yet enough games to determine the best combination of rules. But it turns out to be really not that time consusming rolling about 2 or 3 extra dice at the end of the combat and fiddle these rubber bands arround. It's a ton of fun for us with these little veterans in play.

I'm very interested in your thoughts and comments about this new rule.
(Please also feel free to correct my English, I really would like to improve it.)
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Matt Epp
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
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Very innovative and easy to implement. Thumbs up!

For simplicity I would exclude GF and Fighters, beings small and difficult to keep track of (not to mention shock troops already exist).
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Germany
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Thank you!

As soon as I got my camera back I will post some pics with the rubber ring attachments.

Eppic wrote:
For simplicity I would exclude GF and Fighters, beings small and difficult to keep track of (not to mention shock troops already exist).

Regarding the attaching of the rubber rings you're right, it's a little bit more difficult.
Concerning the "keep track": Perhaps you misunderstood the rules because the number of possible units getting experienced depends only on the number of combat rounds. It doesn't matter if you're fighting with 3 GF or with a big fleet of 5 DN, 5 Cruisers and 7 Destroyers.
Yes, you're right with Shock Troops. I personally wouldn't allow to get experienced Shock Troops.

At the moment I tend to prefer this rule wording:
"After each combat round, both players select one of their surviving (unexperienced) units and roll a die. On a 9+ the chosen unit gets a permanent rubber band which grants it a +1 for all future combat rolls."

So with this rule it's a little bit more exciting with getting use of experienced units in the current battle.

By the way, in most cases you don't have to attach, remove and re-attach the rubber bands because it's easier to have about 1 or 2 already experienced units of each type in your reinforcements and switch them.

I would love to get feedback from other groups who would like to give this new rule a try :)
 
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Brian Petersen
United States
Texas
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I would restrict it to +1 during a round of a space/invasion combat (unless you want to exclude GFs and MUs altogether).

Think of how strong an experienced tech'd up destroyer is on "all combat rolls." 3x5 for AFB, then 7 during combat.

So 1 in 5 combat rounds, 1 experienced unit would come into play. Do you think the typical game would see more than 1 or 2 of these experienced units per player?
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Jeff Poole
United States
California
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trev_clim wrote:
At the moment I tend to prefer this rule wording:
"After each combat round, both players select one of their surviving (unexperienced) units and roll a die. On a 9+ the chosen unit gets a permanent rubber band which grants it a +1 for all future combat rolls."

So with this rule it's a little bit more exciting with getting use of experienced units in the current battle.


I think this is an interesting rule, with little book/house keeping. As Brian pointed out, +1 forever can be really strong, especially on a Warsun or Destroyer (especially if either has an Admiral). I think a more reasonable rule would be allowing a unit to discard its experience ring for a reroll. This might require more attaching/removing rings, but if it's as easy as you say then it shouldn't be a problem. Also, I would only allow this for space combat/units.
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Germany
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Thanks for all your suggestions.

We only played 2 games with the experience rule so far, so there were no experienced Destroyers or admirals (we don't play with Leaders). Our games were pretty battle-intensive, so I remember a 4 Player game with the 9+ rule where we had about 10-12 experienced ships and some experienced GF (and 1 PDS) in total at the end - which was nice. But only 2 games are not representative for statistics and there were a lot of battles and combat rounds. So generally your thoughts are absolutely true, I'll put those 8+ in: So in average every three combat rounds there will be an experienced unit.

Perhaps there is furthermore more experimentantion needed if either a 8+ or a 9+ is better because especially with weak units there are sometimes a lot of combat rounds. So for example when two Ground Forces are fighting there are sometimes 3 or 4 combat rounds resulting in a guaranteed experienced Ground Force. Which is nice on the other hand because sometimes these long battles are a little bit annoying and so an experienced unit at the end is a nice result :)

I've updated the rules so far:

"After each combat round, both players select one of their surviving (unexperienced) units (no Shock Troops) and roll a die. On a 8+ the chosen unit gets a permanent rubber band which grants it a +1 for all combat rolls during a round of space/invasion combat. Ships with admirals get only a +1 on a single dice roll. Units with natural multiple die rolls like War Suns and Flagships can get multiple rubber bands (over several combat rounds), for each die roll one."

The last sentence might be a bit confusing, so here is an example:
An unexperienced War Sun (3x3) survives Combat Round 1 (CR). The player rolls a 10 for the experience check so a rubber band is attached to the War Sun. So in CR 2 the War Sun rolls two dice on 3+ as normal and one die on 2+ due to the rubber band. At the end of CR 2 the player rolls again successfully for the experience check and the War Suns gets a second rubber band. Now it rolls two dice on 2+ and one die on the normal 3+.

I also like this additional rule: "If an enemy experienced unit is destroyed during a combat round you may make an experience roll on 5+ instead of 8+ at the end of the combat round."


 
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Germany
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Hey guys=)

I've completely re-done the experience rule to achieve following points:
- no extra die rolls during combat.
- less time consuming / housekeeping, experience check is done after combat.
- bonus for specific units who have done great instead of any chosen unit.
- only surviving units should be boosted.
- units rolling several dice should be boosted slowly in several steps.
- killing experienced units should be especially awesome.

Therefore the system is now called Battle Veterans - I'm looking forward to your feedback! What do you think?

(Currently not compatible with Shock Troops)

######### BATTLE VETERANS #############


Story: Surviving and home coming fighters of the galaxy are promoted when they either do an extraordinary job (rolling a 10) or when they destroy enemy veteran units. Promotions bring better equipment and experience for further battles (+1 on combat rolls).

Being a fighter ace:

When rolling dice in Space Battle or Invasion Combat rounds, make sure to remember your units (incl. Mercenaries) having achieved a natural 10. At the end of the battle choose only one of the marked units which survived and promote them to veterans.

Veteran (marked with a rubber band) units get +1 on their combat rolls for one combat die. Units rolling several dice may get several promotions. Only one promotion (one rubber band) may be given to one unit after one combat.

Example: Example: A War Sun has veteran level 2 (2 rubber bands), earned in two past battles it survived and achieved at least one natural 10 in each battle. In upcoming battles this War Sun may roll 1 normal die on 3+ for a hit and 2 veteran dice on 2+ for a hit. A third and last promotion (veteran level 3) may be assigned after combat when rolling a natural 10 with any of its die rolls. Then this War Sun would roll 3 veteran dice on 2+ for a hit.


Killing enemy veterans:

Separately from the rule above, you may promote one of your units you’ve rolled for if their hits result in the destruction of an enemy veteran units. This veteran kill promotion is not based on the die roll result. Only one promotion level for one unit for each destroyed veteran is applicable. A veteran level 2 or 3 of the destroyed unit doesn’t result in several promotions. Only one promotion may be assigned to one single unit after combat. Destroying several veteran units by different units however result in promoting several units after combat.

Example: In a Space Battle a Mentak player attacks an enemy veteran level 2 War Sun and a level 1 Destroyer with his fleet of 2 unexperienced Cruisers and 1 Carrier. In the first combat round all enemy rolls miss. The two Mentak Cruisers roll 7 and 8 and therefore inflicting two hits: Enemy War Sun is damaged and Destroyer is killed, granting one of the cruisers a promotion after combat. In the second combat round all enemy rolls miss again and so do the cruisers. The lucky Carrier however rolls a 9 and destroys the damaged War Sun, resulting in a promotion for the Carrier after combat.


Gameplay Background:

When rolling dice with units which have several combat dice, the player need to annouce which combat die (veteran bonus or not) he’s rolling. Additionally it’s important to roll dice separately for differen unit groups / veteran levels to identify them for promotion.

Dreadnoughts with Leaders (2 combat dice) can get two veteran promotions.

Units destroyed by pre-combat abilities or other means (e.g. Action Cards) during combat don’t result in promotions.

EDIT:
Here's a picture of some units with different rubber band sizes. It only takes 2-3 seconds to put them on/off. I'm using rubber bands from a orthodontist. They are cheap, really small (see different sizes) and highly durable. See the little small rings arround the War Sun, they don't rip, tear though really stretching them wide:



I think some orthodontists offer them also in different colors...
 
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