Benski Dayley
United States
West Jordan
Utah
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This game has so much potential, but leaves me feeling slighted whenever the game ends in just a couple turns. The other night I played two player with my wife and she beat me in two turns. No super strategy or amazingly lucky draw of the cards or anything like that. She just shot down one of my four fleet ship the first turn, which left a big hole in my defenses. I was unable to reinforce on my turn. Then she shot down my command ship her next turn. Wow, anticlimatic to say the least.

Thus inspired this SIMPLE house rule that has improved the game 10 fold.

New Rule: During the recruit phase any two cards can be discarded as one resource of your choice for the purpose of recruiting.

It is common to get at least one resource in a draw of five, but uncommon to get the required set of three. And in a shoot'em up game like Mag Blast when you loose ships every round, you need constant reinforcements to keep the game going.
The trade-off that adds to the strategy of the game is that discarding two cards for one resource depletes your ability to attack. Thus forcing you to weigh the nice buffer of more ships to the satisfying feeling of blasting another ship out of the sky.

we love this simple variant. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
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Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
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I feel like pretty much all cards should have Resource symbols, so there's a stronger tension between using cards for Reinforcements or keeping them for effect.

I've never seen anything like this happen, mind you. The shortest game I've ever played has been about half an hour. If anything it feels like it drags.
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Luis
Spain
Madrid
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A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.
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A foolproof method for sculpting an elephant: first, get a huge block of marble, then you chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant.
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Nice variant! Two cards seems a very reasonable cost for such ability. With two players the game is still unbalanced though: I have managed to win on my first turn with the Freep without my opponent having a chance to react. Well, technically it was during my second turn, but the only thing she had left was a single cruiser with a minefield, so she didn't get to play anyway. Being able to discard for resources wouldn't have helped because she had only two cards in hand and you don't draw on your first turn so...

Haven't played Mag-Blast much lately, but will definitely suggest trying this variant next time I play it with just two: with three or four it is quite frequent players have open flanks yet still don't receive much punishment on their motherships, so I feel more reinforecements would just make the game drag. Why? Simple: on the one hand, weakened players tend to band to together to dent the stronger players instead of killing each other so they don't get annihilated on a one versus one against a fully fledged fleet. On the other hand, only the strongest players are the ones trying to kick the rest out of the game while they have more ships than them, as that way they maximize their winning chances.

Benjamin, one resource per card would make the game drag on almost indefinitely. Once players are familiar with the rules and cards (which doesn't take that many games), three player games can be played consistently in less than twenty minutes and four player games in less than thirty. With five someone always dies before getting a chance to play so we never play it if we are more than four.
 
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Rick Bateman
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I recently played this for the first time, and also noticed how quickly a fleet can evaporate. I played in a five-player game, and for some reason, on the second turn a few of the other players all focused their fire on me. I got really annoyed, because all that crap of kingmaking, bullying and everybody dogpiling on one person is why I hate competitive multiplayer games in the first place, and there it looked like I was gonna be out of the game in short order. But the next couple players mercifully didn't finish the job (I don't understand why that happened any more than I understand why I took so much heat all of a sudden in the first place, since I wasn't the biggest threat), and so it came to my turn. I discarded everything I could stand to lose, and got very lucky, drawing two "Reinforcements" cards, which turned out to be pretty necessary, as one of them was a scout. With that, I was able to get back in the game, and I'm glad I didn't let my annoyance show too much, because I ended up winning the whole thing.
I do think it's the kind of game that's meant to be always very touch-and-go, but I also think that if there were more ships in play, players would be able to do more action than reaction. My plan at the start of the game was to focus on increasing my fleet, using resources to buy new ships, etc, but other than that one lucky draw, I could barely build 'em faster than the other players took 'em down. (Boarding Party is a very sweet card, though.) I think the fact that I had Freep, and so could steal a total of nine cards (some of which were resource cards) from other players, was a significant contributor to my managing to stay afloat.
I certainly hope that some of my own skill was involved in my victory, but I can say much more confidently that there was also quite a bit of luck. There were more than a couple times when, if I hadn't had one particular card, I would've been eliminated (either immediately or before my next turn). Since I don't own the game myself, I haven't had a chance to try this, but I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if each player started with six ships. Having two "floaters" instead of just the bare minimum to cover each side would allow a lot more strategy in maneuvering and positioning; the scouts could actually be useful instead of a huge Achilles heel. Of course, this also means that you could just put three ships in one sector and blast someone else's weak spot to kingdom come anyway. Maybe it would need a further supplementary rule that only two ships can be in any given sector. (Then it becomes a question of how far you can take a rules adjustment before it just becomes a completely different game.)
Ultimately, I think it's a pretty good game if you can accept it for what it is. It seems to be fairly luck-based in terms of how dependent you are on drawing just the right card for that moment (but then, I suppose most card games are), and you just can't assume you're gonna be in the game for the long haul, but if you can live with all that, it does provide some decent beer-and-pretzels, fast-paced space combat fun. (Granted, I don't know if I would've thought it was all that fun if I really had been taken out in that early turn.)
 
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