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Space Empires: 4X» Forums » Variants

Subject: Marker Draw Variant rss

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A small pet-peeve of mine in SE4X is the clutter that the markers become on the board. I really like the board art depicting a vast and empty universe and feel that the markers get in the way of that. Secondly, by using this method, a random map setup is truly random since players have absolutely no way of gaining an advantage by targeting colored markers first (which, obviously, are far less dangerous than deep space markers). Finally, I felt that setup time could be reduced by not having to put down the markers from the get-go.

So instead of placing markers on the board during setup (other than your home planet), they are placed in an opaque cup or bag and then drawn at random during exploration. Permanent space bodies, such as planets and asteroids are left on the board when encountered. Non-permanent space bodies such as "danger" markers are simply flipped over after encountering them to indicate that the place has been explored. Movable markers such as minerals should be replaced face down at their origin hex after dropped off at colonies.

If you run out of markers, the empty sections of the map are deemed as the edge of the galaxy and considered an empty void. All face down markers can now be removed from the board.

As an alternative, if you still want to maintain safe starting zones for your empire, divide your markers by color into opaque containers and draw when inside of the divided regions on the board accordingly. This way you still get the beautiful space art, but maintain starting "safe" locations.
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David desJardins
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If you mix the deep space markers with the home realm, then almost always one player will get a much better start than the opponent and get a huge advantage. The variance is just too high.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
If you mix the deep space markers with the home realm, then almost always one player will get a much better start than the opponent and get a huge advantage. The variance is just too high.


I'm not sure I follow. How so? Mixing all markers together with a 1:1 ratio of home : deep space means that each player has an equal chance of drawing a deep space marker or a colored marker as the next player during movement on their turn.

 
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David Debien
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lumin wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
If you mix the deep space markers with the home realm, then almost always one player will get a much better start than the opponent and get a huge advantage. The variance is just too high.


I'm not sure I follow. How so? Mixing all markers together with a 1:1 ratio of home : deep space means that each player has an equal chance of drawing a deep space marker or a colored marker as the next player during movement on their turn.



Exactly as you say. Each player has the same chance of drawing a deep space danger chit, or alien world, but what David is saying is it adds entirely too much luck to it. One player could draw a couple juicy colony worlds while the other loses his entire fleet to several danger chits. It would be pretty clear from there who would win the game...

Now, you could correct this by having each player have their own draw bag with their own home space counters and then a third draw bag for far space...
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casualgod wrote:

Exactly as you say. Each player has the same chance of drawing a deep space danger chit, or alien world, but what David is saying is it adds entirely too much luck to it. One player could draw a couple juicy colony worlds while the other loses his entire fleet to several danger chits. It would be pretty clear from there who would win the game...


Of course, that's the point and what a random setup means. Works the same as the random setup in the scenario book. Each game's going to be different when played this way and it guarantees that nobody gets an equal start.

But it does not mean that "almost always one player will get a much better start" as David implied, because "almost always" would mean it's not random. There's an equal chance that one player has a better start, there's an equal chance that both players have bad starts, and there's an equal chance that both players have good starts.

Then again, using the safe starting areas doesn't mean equal starts either, or using dice, and on and on...

casualgod wrote:

Now, you could correct this by having each player have their own draw bag with their own home space counters and then a third draw bag for far space...


Yeah, I pointed this alternative out in my op...
 
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David Debien
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lumin wrote:
casualgod wrote:

Exactly as you say. Each player has the same chance of drawing a deep space danger chit, or alien world, but what David is saying is it adds entirely too much luck to it. One player could draw a couple juicy colony worlds while the other loses his entire fleet to several danger chits. It would be pretty clear from there who would win the game...


Of course, that's the point and what a random setup means. Works the same as the random setup in the scenario book. Each game's going to be different when played this way and it guarantees that nobody gets an equal start.

But it does not mean that "almost always one player will get a much better start" as David implied, because "almost always" would mean it's not random. There's an equal chance that one player has a better start, there's an equal chance that both players have bad starts, and there's an equal chance that both players have good starts.

Then again, using the safe starting areas doesn't mean equal starts either, or using dice, and on and on...

casualgod wrote:

Now, you could correct this by having each player have their own draw bag with their own home space counters and then a third draw bag for far space...


Yeah, I pointed this alternative out in my op...


At no point did I imply "almost always". I did imply though that one player "could" get a much better start. With 40% of the far space being danger chits, it stands to reason that someone will get hit by more of those than another. I would not play a variant with that much luck but I support your right to do so!
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casualgod wrote:

At no point did I imply "almost always". I did imply though that one player "could" get a much better start. With 40% of the far space being danger chits, it stands to reason that someone will get hit by more of those than another. I would not play a variant with that much luck but I support your right to do so!


Here's the point: you can play with just about any map setup you want with this, as laid out in the scenario book. All I'm trying to do is provide a way to keep the board less cluttered, and reduce setup time. Randomness has nothing to do with this variant, your game is not any more random than what you're going to find in the different scenarios in Jim Krohn's own manual. My random option is, in essence, barely different than the "Variable 3-Player Map" on page 6.

This is simply a different way to draw markers - using a draw cup instead of flipping them.
 
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David desJardins
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lumin wrote:
But it does not mean that "almost always one player will get a much better start" as David implied, because "almost always" would mean it's not random.


No, you're mistaken. It's entirely possible for it to be perfectly random and still almost always one player gets a better start.

Suppose you played chess where each player drew 15 random pieces out of a big bag, instead of starting with 8 pawns, 2 knights, 2 bishops, 2 rooks, and a queen. The game would be perfectly random and perfectly fair, yet still, almost always, one side or the other would end up with a huge advantage right from the beginning.
 
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lumin wrote:
A small pet-peeve of mine in SE4X is the clutter that the markers become on the board. I really like the board art depicting a vast and empty universe and feel that the markers get in the way of that. Secondly, by using this method, a random map setup is truly random since players have absolutely no way of gaining an advantage by targeting colored markers first (which, obviously, are far less dangerous than deep space markers). Finally, I felt that setup time could be reduced by not having to put down the markers from the get-go.

So instead of placing markers on the board during setup (other than your home planet), they are placed in an opaque cup or bag and then drawn at random during exploration. Permanent space bodies, such as planets and asteroids are left on the board when encountered. Non-permanent space bodies such as "danger" markers are simply flipped over after encountering them to indicate that the place has been explored. Movable markers such as minerals should be replaced face down at their origin hex after dropped off at colonies.

If you run out of markers, the empty sections of the map are deemed as the edge of the galaxy and considered an empty void. All face down markers can now be removed from the board.

As an alternative, if you still want to maintain safe starting zones for your empire, divide your markers by color into opaque containers and draw when inside of the divided regions on the board accordingly. This way you still get the beautiful space art, but maintain starting "safe" locations.


Hey this is a cool idea.
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