Only playtested a little, but it was fun. Let me know what you guys think, and I encourage anyone to point out where it breaks.
Racial Allies is a variant method of playing TI with only 2 players. Each player controls a single race that possesses two allied races. These allied races provide each player with extra Home Systems, technology discounts, and even special abilities. Victory is achieved just as it is in the base game: by gaining the number of Victory Points required to win the game, or by having the greatest number of Victory Points when the game is over.
Game Setup with Racial Allies
When playing TI with Racial Allies, game setup differs according the instructions below. All other instructions for game setup function as normal.
Races should be separated into three piles as such:
Pile 1: Federation of Sol, The Yssaril Tribes, The Clan of Saar, The Embers of Muaat, The Arborec
Pile 2: The Emirates of Hacan, The Naalu Collective, The Xxcha Kingdom, Universities of Jol-Nar, The Winnu, The Ghosts of Creuss
Pile 3: Sardakk N'orr, The Barony of Letnev, The L1z1x Mindnet, The Mentak Coalition, The Yin Brotherhood, The Nekro Virus
Each player should randomly select one race from each of these piles. Then each player should choose one of the races selected to be the “Player Race.” The remaining two races will be that player's “Allied Races.” Place Mecatol Rex in the middle of the table as usual.
Remove system tiles according to the rules for the three player game, except remove 8 more planet tiles before shuffling the remaining systems. Then deal out the remaining systems, so that each player has 8 systems.
Players now create the galaxy as normal, except the final board constellation and Home System placement should be as follows: Home Systems for each Player Race are placed on opposing sides of Mecatol Rex on Ring 2. This means that there is only one system separating Mecatol Rex and that Home System. The Home Systems of Allied Races are placed on Ring 3, one system away from the Home System of the respective Player Race. The result should be that each set of races is aligned parallel to the opponent's races.
Players will only use the Race Sheet of their Player Race, but the Race Sheets of Allied Races should be kept nearby for reference. Command Counters for Allied Races are not used, but the Trade Cards of Allied Races should be placed in the common play area. Each player receives the the Planet Cards corresponding to the planets in each of his Home Systems, and each card begins play face up (refreshed).
Each player should place the starting units of their Player Race in the Home System of their Player Race, and place the starting technology cards of their Player Race face up in their play areas. Then the player may place units in the Home Systems of their Allied Races.
Which units a player may place in his Allied Races' Home Systems is determined by the starting units for the corresponding race. A player may place units of a resource value up to the value of an Allied Race's starting units -10 in that race's home system. For the purposes of this step of game setup, Fighters and Ground Force units are worth 1/2 of a resource. During game setup, the units you may place are restricted. You may not place Space Docks or War Suns in an Allied Race's Home System. You may place up to 6 Fighters and 6 Ground Force Units. You may only place 3 ships in an Allied Race's Home System. You may only place 1 PDS and 1 Mechanized Unit. These restrictions do not apply during play.
The Game Round with Allied Races
Allied Races differs a lot from a standard game of TI, but anything not noted below works as normal.
Before the Strategy Phase begins, each player must select one of their Allied Races. Until the end of the Status Phase, each player possesses all of the special abilities of the selected Allied Race in addition to the special abilities of his Player Race. These abilities are removed by the Cultural Crisis action card, and are subject to be copied by the Multiculturalism action card.
As Allied Races, The L1z1x Mindnet and The Mentak Coalition's abilities to start the game with one extra Command Counter in their Strategy Allocation and Fleet Supply respectively instead allows the player to immediately receive one Command Counter in his Strategy Allocation and Fleet Supply respectively. These abilities only function the first time a player selects one of these races before the Strategy Phase, and can only be used once per game.
When a player has selected The Clan of Saar as an Allied Race and selects their racial abilities, his Space Docks must immediately leave any planets that they are present on. Any Space Docks that were previously blockaded are immediately destroyed. When the player loses The Clan of Saar's special abilities at the end of the Status Phase, any Space Docks present in a system with planets that do not already contain Space Docks must be placed on an available planet in that system. If there is not an available planet that does not already contain a Space Dock, the Space Dock remains in in Space as though it had movement. If The Clan of Saar's abilities are not selected in the following round, such Space Docks may not move or produce units, provide no Fighter capacity, and are immediately destroyed if present without friendly ships in a system that contains enemy ships.
When The Mentak Coalition steals Trade Goods using their special ability, they may steal 2 Trade Goods rather than 1 from the opposing player.
During the Status Phase, the Emirates of Hacan may discard one Action Card to draw one Action Card.
The Winnu special ability to add the votes of an exhausted Home System planet applies only to planet Winnu.
During the Strategy Phase, players must choose 2 Strategy Cards to be played, and 1 Extra Strategy Card to be activated at the end of the action phase. This is done over three rounds of selection, with the third Strategy Card selected by each player (designated the Extra Strategy Cards) set in the common play area to be activated at the end of the action phase. The remaining two unselected Strategy Cards receive one bonus counter each. Order of play is determined only by the Strategy Cards not placed in the common play area, and the action phase otherwise proceeds as it would in a three player game.
At the end of the Action Phase, after both players have passed, each player may execute the secondary ability of each of the Extra Strategy Cards, as if a third player had simultaneously activated both Strategy Cards without a Primary Ability.
If a Strategy Card has no Secondary Ability, then it has no effect as an Extra Strategy Card. It is recommended that only Strategy Cards with Secondary Abilities are used with this variant.
When voting for an agenda, each player must roll 1d10 to determine the number of bonus votes he receives, up to a maximum of 5. If the number rolled is greater than 5, the player must re-roll until he rolls a number that is 5 or less.
When trade negotiations are open, players may trade with any Allied Races, even those of the opponent. When trading with and Allied Race, a player receives any trade card that the race has not already traded. During the Status Phase, a player may break the Trade Agreements of an Allied Race, but only if he chose to possess that race's special abilities before the Strategy Phase this round. Hacan trade agreements may be broken like any other trade agreement unless the player participating in the trade agreement possesses the Emirates of Hacan's special abilities this round.
Players only possess the trade agreements that their Player Race has traded for. For the purposes of Action Cards and Technology Cards, players are considered trading with their opponent when they possess trade agreements with each of that player's Allied Races.
When purchasing technology, you may purchase the Starting Technology of your Allied Races at a -4 discount. When using the Nekro Virus' special ability to acquire technology, you may instead acquire one of the Starting Technologies of your Allied Races, but only if you possess the prerequisites.
Racial Technologies (if in use)
You may purchase a single Racial Technology of one of your Allied Races, but only if you possess all of that race's Starting Technologies. The Nekro Virus may acquire the racial technology of an Allied Race as it would a Starting Technology, but it must possess all of that race's Starting Technologies.
For the purposes of achieving objectives, the Home Systems of your opponent's Allied Races count as opponents' Home Systems. You are only prevented from achieving objectives if you lack control of one of your Player Race's Home System planets.