I've been toying with the idea of using the blank cards from the expansions to add cards specifically intended to force shake-ups. I've got several ideas, but's my first attempt at this kind of thing and I'd like to get your input. Here's what I've got so far:
Trade Agreement (Dev 2) 1vp
II: May pay 1 resource to another player to use one of his development cards this turn.
III: May pay 1 corresponding resource to another player to use one of his world cards this turn.
(if a player cannot store the good he must consume it immediately)
Sanctions (Dev 2) -1 prestige, 1vp
I: May discard to prevent another player from using search action this turn.
II: May discard to prevent another player from using development action this turn
III: same mutatis mutandis
IV: same mutatis mutandis
V: same mutatis mutandis
Resource Shortage (Dev 4) +3 vp
II: all developments cost +2 (for the rest of the game)
III: all non-military worlds cost +2 (for the rest of the game)
IV: $ cards +3
Uplift Shapeshifters (World 4) 1vp
III: may pay either #vp or card cost to place world
V: produces Green
Plague (Dev 2) -1 prestige, 0vp
III: +1 mil
When placed: all other players must discard their lowest cost planet or development from tableaux.
They also discard two cards from their hand (to a minimum of 1) if you have the plague world in your tableaux.
Democracy (Dev 3) 2vp +1 prestige
III: -1 mil. all takeovers must receive a majority vote of approval from players, ties go to the defender.
Allied Forces (Dev 2) 1vp
III: +1 mil, may assist another player's takeover by adding your military to theirs. +2 cards or +1 prestige if successful.
University (World 6) +1 prestige +3 vp
I: +1 view
II: -1 dev
IV: +1 card on trades
IV: consume one good for no reward (universities are expensive to run)
V: Produces either Blue, Brown, or Green (depending on your research program)
Great Philosopher (Dev 1) +1 prestige +2 vp
I: +1 view
II: -1 dev
III: -1 mil
May use other players Universities, salons, education-related things?
Scientific Breakthrough (Dev 2) +1 prestige 1vp
II: +2 view
IV: +1 card selling green
When this is played, player draws 4 cards. Each other player also draws one card.
May discard from tableaux on a future turn to do this again.
Rebel Pirates (World 2) Mil world 0vp
V: chose one opponent who is producing, she discards two cards of her choice. If you have a card in your tableaux with the word "smuggling" in it, you may immediately trade one of her discarded goods for its trade value in cards.
Sabateurs (4 dev) 1 vp
II: Discard from tableaux to make one other player's 4 or less cost development useless for the rest of the game (they still get the VP at the end)
Leadership Crisis (4 dev) 3vp
II/III: When this card is played all other players MUST place the lowest cost world or development in their hand into their tableaux and pay the full value (no discounts), if they can.
Uplift Ancients Return (World 2) 0vp
III: +1 mil, and +1 mil for each other uplift card in tableaux.
May take over (and destroy) another player's rebel or imperium military world.
Alien Invasion Fleet (world 2) 0vp
III: +1 Mil, and +1 mil for each other alien card in tableaux.
May take over (and destroy another player's rebel or imperium world.
Lots of ideas there--difficult to respond to all of them on an iPad. You seem to be promoting takeovers quite a bit. I'm surprised the uplift and alien takeover worlds are so cheap--destroying worlds usually adds to the length of the game when the winner is already determined. Maybe with so much more access to TO it would change, though. I would remove the destroyed aspect, and add a bonus for each corresponding (uplift or alien) card in the tableau, such as the one on rebel alliance; that way there might be some exciting swings as one player takes a planet (thanks to the bonus) and then the other player can try to take it back.
Uplift shapeshifters would likely not be played. In creating and playing an expansion with a similar power, I found that one VP per -2 settle cost is a more attractive (e.g people will actually use it) option, and also you probably need an outside way to get VP early on or those powers will never be used. For example, someone with shapeshifters would also have to have a decent pile of VP available--where did it come from?--and still they won't be getting much bang for their buck unless they are playing a card with powers that make up for the VP loss.
Obviously your goal was to shake things up, but I think some of the diplomatic ones that force people to do things, like play a world from their hand, would just suck in random ways. Leadership Crisis: "Oh, I have a five card hand with just military worlds I can't play and research labs, guess I need to dump my whole hand into it. Meanwhile, this other guy gets to lay pan galactic security council without wasting an action on it. Awesome..."
Same goes for Resource Shortage and Democracy. They would shake things up, but mostly just be frustrating and fidgety, making a straight military worlds strategy the most non-annoying course to take.
Sabotage would be a total bitch to be on the receiving end of, and I kind of like the sound of it. "oh, you thought you'd be using those Galactic Markets? Think again." I think creating a skeletal token system, with off-the-card rules to adjucate sabotage (perhaps allow players to "re-purchase" the development to remove the sabotage token) could be fun to explore as a wider mechanic. (Stoled! Thanks )
Thanks. This is really thoughtful. As you guessed, my goal was interaction of a more disruptive kind. I love the way RFtG unfolds each game as a new storyline, and I wanted to add something of the abrupt upheaval that can happen with sudden disruptive events.
I like the suggestions on the new TO cards. I think rebel alliance is really powerful (maybe too powerful) and I was looking for a way to make games more, rather than less, belligerent. The shapeshifters card I basically lifted the mechanic from an Ascension card that does something similar for purchases, interesting to hear it didn't work for you though.
I kind of want to have something that you get to place in another person's tableau, or that allows you to use other players cards. The latter one especially has the potential to affect what other players play. Maybe it would be better to have the action happen at some time other than "when played" since that would give others a chance to react/anticipate a bit better.
Only problem I see with expanding the sabotage thing into a system would be that it's really the kind of thing that should happen once (at most twice) per game. If it got used widely it would grind the game to a near halt. That said, I think it's neat. Maybe it could be something more like the embargo in Dominion where it just changes the cost of using the card.
What did you think about the "Allied Forces" idea? I was trying to think of a way to bring a bit of negotiation into 3+ player games. Maybe I'm asking too much of this game, but I've had fun thinking of cards just the same...
Allied forces would be a neat card, and would allow for some takeovers to happen when they normally wouldn't.
I'm not a huge fan of TOs, (regardless, I always play with them ON) but that's partly because they happen so infrequently and when they do it one player seems to be punished for the other player's high military draws. Maybe if they were common, as I imagine they would be in a set with these cards, it would feel more fun.
So the meta-interactive cards, democracy, allied forces, are a neat angle. Looking at the possibilities for Democracy I don't know how often takeovers would be successful--only if the guy in the lead is the target.
Allowing players to trade cards could be interesting. I don't know about trading goods. But you could have a $ power that is like, take two cards from an opponent's hand, and give them one in return. Or just opponents must give you one card from their hand. That'd be a nice power.