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Subject: Lucre variant (auction + bazaar deck) rss

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Mate Cziner
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Printable components (25 cards and rules) for this variant can be found in the files section.


Lucre variant using auction and deck

I'm intending to test this variant the next chance I get, which may come in about a week. Until then, it would be great to have a discussion about it, so we can weed out a few problems before the first playtest (especialy about the investment mechanic). I'm really hoping for the input of Bill and Kobold Curry, as the variant uses concepts that they proposed.

Preface

After plowing trough the various discussions about a possible Lucre variant for the FFG version, I have found some really good concepts. Two of which I really found interesting: the auction mechanic proposed by Bill (allows players to balance prices), and the Bazaar deck proposed by Kobold Curry (does away with the need of a price table, and shortens the list of possible actions to consider, reducing downtime). I'm attempting to put these concepts to good use in this variant.

I have a number of other goals, some of which address problems that may be specific to my gaming group:

• provide an incentive to pick encounters in your Home system more often
• provide an additional tradable asset to encourage Deals. (Most Negotiations end in a failed Deal in our group)
• provide a mechanic that differentiates between the value of colonies, so it's not always the one with the least ships that comes under attack
• the Lucre effects should make use of existing mechanics as much as possible instead of introducing new ones.
• minimum number of extra components


Required Components
• # of players x 10 glass beads, poker chips etc. to represent Lucre
• 25 x Bazaar Cards

Rules

Setup

The players start the game with a number of Lucre equal to their seating order.

Optional: additional Lucre may be handed out to newbie players or those who picked an alien power perceived as weak on group consensus.

Income

Income is collected from the Bank by the Main Players at various stages of an Encounter:

• the Offense gains 1 Lucre during Regroup.

• At the end of the Destiny Phase the Offense gains an additional 3 Lucre if he takes an encounter in his Home System

• the Defense gains 2 Lucre at the end of the Launch phase (when it becomes known who will be Defense). The Defense is allowed to place these as Investment if that optional rule is in use.

The Bank has a supply of 10 Lucre per Player. If the Bank is empty when an Income should be collected, the required amount is collected from the Player with the most Lucre. Break ties by player order.

Trade

• An amount of Lucre can be offered in place of Compensation. If the player accepts the offer, he takes the offered Lucre in place of normal Compensation.

• Lucre can be traded as part of a Deal, but a card or colony must still change ownership as a result of the Deal.

• Invested Lucre can be captured by the Offense or Defensive Allies if the Investments optional rule is used.

Invested Lucre may be used in Trades, but it doesn't double it worth in these scenairos (see Investments rules for more info.)

Optional Rule: Investments

In each encounter, the Defense has the option to Invest. This happens before the Launch phase if the Defense is defending a Home Colony, or at the end of the Launch phase if he is defending a Foreign Colony.

A player Invests by placing any amount of Lucre on any of his Home Colonies.

Invested Lucre on a Planet worth +1 or -1 (announced by the owner before at the start of the Planning Phase) Attack value each in every Encounter that takes place at that planet. This is a free effect, the Invested Lucre is not spent as a result of this.

• If the Offense wins the encounter, he takes all Invested Lucre on the contested Planet.
• If the Defense wins the encounter, Defensive allies are allowed to take Invested Lucre from the defended planet as Defender's Reward on a one-on-one basis (so instead of drawing a card or freeing a ship).

Invested Lucre worth twice their value when paying after an Auction, but only one Invested Lucre may be used as payment per Auction.

Market

After the Tech Phase (just before the Offense gains back a ship from the Warp), the players may attempt to obtain Bazaar cards.

Restock the Market: if there are less then 3 Bazaar cards face up, draw cards from the Bazaar deck and place them next to the Warp. These are the cards up for auction.

If at any time the Bazaar Deck is down to one card, shuffle the discard pile with the current face up Bazaar cards to form a new Bazaar Deck, then draw 3 cards to form a new Market.

Auctions

After the Market has been restocked, any player is allowed to call for an auction on either of the cards currently in the Market. The player who first stated the intent for an auction places the first bid, regardless of who's turn it is or player order.

(Optional Rule: the players may state their intent on starting an Auction in player order, starting with the Offense, if your group dislikes the "dibs on that" method described above.)

The first bid must be equal or greater than the minimum bid stated on the Bazaar Card auctioned. Players may then place bids in turn order.
A player who passes is out of the auction, and cannot resume bidding later in this auction. Bidding goes round the table until there is no one who wants to bid higher.

A player can bid only as high as the amount of loose (non-invested) Lucre he has.

The player with the highest bid wins the auction, pays the bid to the Bank (one piece of Invested Lucre may be used in the payment, which has a value of 2 Lucre for the purposes of payment) and carries out the effects stated on the auctioned Bazaar Card. then discards the card immediately unless otherwise stated (by the card, alien power, or other game effect)

(Optional Rule: of the Lucre used to pay after an Auction, one goes to the player with the least Lucre (excluding the Player who does the payment) instead of the Bank.)

Bazaar Cards

legend: # of instances x Bazaar Card Name : minimum bid

2 x Move 4 Ships : 1
Move up to four ships from any of your colonies to other of your colonies.

1 x Move All Ships : 2
Rearrange any or all of your ships among your colonies however you wish.

3 x Extra Tech Phase : 1
Move one ship from any of your colonies to a Tech Card, or reveal a Tech Card.

2 x Free 3 ships : 2
Free a maximum of 3 ships from the Warp and place them on any of your colonies.

1 x Free 7 ships : 4
Free a maximum of 7 of your ships from the Warp and place them on any of your colonies.

3 x Best of two cards from Cosmic Deck : 2
Draw 2 cards from the Cosmic deck. You may add a card of your choice to your hand, and then discard the other, or you may discard both cards.

1 x Best of four cards from Cosmic Deck: 3
Draw 4 cards from the Cosmic deck. Add a card of your choice to your hand, and then discard the rest.

2 x Best of two cards from Reward Deck : 3
Draw 2 cards from the Reward deck. Add one of them to your hand and discard the other.

3 x Discard : 2
Discard a card from your hand.

3 x Extra Encounter Home : 3
Play an Encounter immediately. In the Destiny phase you do not draw a Destiny card. The rest of the encounter plays out as if you have drawn your own color. No alien power or any other game effect is allowed to change where this encounter takes place. After the encounter is resolved, play order resumes as normal.

1 x Extra Encounter : 7
Play an Encounter immediately. After the encounter is resolved, play order resumes as normal.

1 x Rebirth : 6
Re-establish a colony on a home planet by placing 1-4 ships from other colonies there. The presence of foreign colonies on that planet does not prevent this.

1 x Extra Deal : 5
Play an encounter immediately, but don't bother with Launch, Allies, or Planning. Both main players are assumed to have played Negotiate cards and have one minute to make a deal. If the deal fails, you lose two ships and your opponent loses four.

1 x Draw a Flare : 5
Draw a Flare from the Unused Flares deck and add it to your Hand.

EDIT: changed some stuff based on Phil's suggestions and added his Bazaar card ideas.
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Jon Gon
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Nice approach to this variant. I specially like the Investments concept and the 3-lucre bonus if you have an encounter in your home system.

Clarifications: When invested lucre is captured does it stop being invested in that targeted planet? If so, how is it distributed by the offensive main player and offensive allies?


A few suggestions:

I always thought that the best way to acquire lucre, in thematic terms, would be collecting it from home or foreign colonies. Therefore, instead of the offense receiving 1 lucre during Regroup…


1) At the start of its turn a player receives lucre equal to the number of his or her home colonies.


Another option would be receiving lucre equal to the number of home and foreign colonies.


2) Whenever a deal is successful, if the players exchanged cards, each player receives 1 lucre. If the players exchanged colonies 1 investment lucre is placed on each planet where player founded their new foreign colonies.


I understand your option of using Bazaar cards and the auction mechanism but it seems to add unnecessary complexity. It would be simple to have a small reference sheet (let’s call it the Space Market for example) that allows players to perform certain actions for lucre. These actions effects would be equivalent to the Bazaar cards: releasing ships from the warp, buying cards from the deck, etc


3) At the start of any player's turn that player may take 1 action, then clockwise, each other player can also take 1 action.


This is just an example, it could be several actions or several rounds. The Space Market could even use a worker placement mechanism...
If you’re interested there was a big discussion about lucre in these forums, you can find it here.

Good job.

 
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Mate Cziner
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Hey Jon, thanks for the quick input, I was itching to discuss this with somebody

Quote:
When invested lucre is captured does it stop being invested in that targeted planet?


Yes, captured Lucre changes ownership, so it's definetely gone from that planet. Remember, that YOUR investments can only be in YOUR Home System. You cannot hold investments on foreign colonies.

Quote:
If so, how is it distributed by the offensive main player and offensive allies?


Offensive allies don't get anything, only the offensive main player is allowed to loot the planet. When I wrote Offense and Defense, I ve always meant the Main players.

Quote:
I always thought that the best way to acquire lucre, in thematic terms, would be collecting it from home or foreign colonies.


On a thematic level, I agree. However, as it has been discussed before in other threads, this system creates a rich get richer scenario. This variant strives to be a balancing factor, you will notice a number of rules favour those who are behind (at least in terms of Lucre).

Quote:
It would be simple to have a small reference sheet (let’s call it the Space Market for example) that allows players to perform certain actions for lucre.


The Bazaar cards were proposed in the first place to avoid this very method (shopping list of Lucre actions), for 2 reasons.

With cards, at any time, you have only a limited number of options to consider, the 2 face up cards. And that is the other reason too: You can't buy everything you want, anytime you want, only the 2 options offered by the market. This keeps the variant from competing in effectiveness with certain alien powers (don't take the job of the Healer for example).

That's my problem with all fixed price Lucre variants too. Some actions can be game turners at one time, and practically worthless at others. Let the players decide the worth of a Bazzaar action in light of the current situation of the game.

EDIT:

also, with a fixed price list and every action available at any time, you are basically bribing the game engine, diminishing the intended risk/reward balance of certain, more important game mechanics.

My intent is to provide a mechanic, which does not provide a constant, reliable benefit (what you get for your Lucre may vary wildly), but can tip the scales in your favor and win you the game in the right circumstances.

Example: I just got my hands on my Super Flare, but I only have one encounter card left, and it's an Attack. This means I will loose my Super Flare very soon, unless I can get a Negotiate card from somewhere. In this situation, the Draw from Cosmic Deck Bazaar card worth way more to me than the player before me who might just want to fish for some good cards. In cases like this, it's much more climatic to allow an auction to decide who gets the card than simple player order.
 
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Mi Myma
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muGodz wrote:

• If the Offense wins the encounter, he takes all Invested Lucre on the contested Planet.
• If the Defense wins the encounter, Defensive allies are allowed to take Invested Lucre from the defended planet as Defender's Reward on a one-on-one basis (so instead of drawing a card or freeing a ship).

Seems like a disincentive to invite defensive allies - if you lose, you lose your invested lucre to the offense, and even if you win, you may lose some or all of it to your own allies.

Quote:
Auction

After the Tech Phase (just before the Offense gains back a ship from the Warp) any player is allowed to start call for an auction one either of the cards currently in the Market. The player who first stated the intent for an auction places the first bid, regardless of who's turn it is or player order.

So is it just one auction per encounter then? You might want to go ahead and say that the offensive player can put a bazaar card up for auction, and if he declines to do so, other players may, in turn order (or Timing Rule order) - because if two players both want to put a card up, or make the first bid, you're going to have to go to the Timing Rule anyway.

Quote:
Bazaar Cards

legend: # of instances x Bazaar Card Name : minimum bid

3 x Extra Tech Phase : 1
Move one ship from any of your colonies to a Tech Card, or reveal a Tech Card.

2 x Free 3 ships : 3
Free a maximum of 3 ships from the Warp and place them on any of your colonies.

1 x Free 7 ships : 5
Free a maximum of 7 of your ships from the Warp and place them on any of your colonies.

3 x Draw from Cosmic deck minor : 1
Draw 2 cards from the Cosmic deck. You may add a card of your choice to your hand, and then discard the other, or you may discard both cards.

1 x Draw from Cosmic deck major: 4
Draw 4 cards from the Cosmic deck. Add a card of your choice to your hand, and then discard the rest.

2 x Draw a card from Reward deck : 2
Draw 2 cards from the Reward deck. Add one of them to your hand and discard the other.

These opening bids seem a little out of balance to me. Usually, a card is worth more than a ship already, and here you're charging for a minimum of three ships, and a selection of the better of two (or more) cards.

I'd make the minimum bids like this:

3 ships: 2
7 ships: 4
Best of two cards: 2
Best of four cards: 3
Best of two Reward Cards: 3

Quote:
3 x Extra Encounter Home : 3

Do you get three lucre for using this card?

Quote:
1 x Extra Encounter : 7
Play an Encounter immediately. After the encounter is resolved, play order resumes as normal.

Do these extra encounters come with additional Lucre income phases? Do you get another 3 lucre if this extra encounter is at a home planet?

I would recommend that these extra encounter ones do not provide any additional Lucre to any player.

Other than these minor tweaks, I'd say the system looks pretty good!
 
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A few ideas for additional Bazaar cards:

3x Move 4 Ships : 1
Move up to four ships from any of your colonies to other of your colonies.

1x Move All Ships : 2
Rearrange any or all of your ships among your colonies however you wish.

1x Rebirth : 6
Re-establish a colony on a home planet by placing 1-4 ships from other colonies there.

1x Extra Deal : 5
Play an encounter immediately, but don't bother with Launch, Allies, or Planning. Both main players are assumed to have played Negotiate cards and have one minute to make a deal.
 
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Mate Cziner
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Quote:
Seems like a disincentive to invite defensive allies - if you lose, you lose your invested lucre to the offense, and even if you win, you may lose some or all of it to your own allies.


Yes, at first it seems that the defense is in a lose-lose situation. But, if you think about it, 1 Lucre worths less than a 1 Cosmic Card, and even 1 Ship in most cases.

So the defensive allies will only loot the defensive main player if they specifically want to weaken him in terms of Lucre. In all other cases, it's a better deal to just draw a card or regain a ship.

Quote:
So is it just one auction per encounter then?


Actually, I haven't thought about that. As of the current wording, the players can keep holding auctions as long as they Lucre to go around, which is bad.

I think I will change the rule that the Market is replenished only after the "Auction phase" so there is either one, or two auctions per encounter.

Quote:
You might want to go ahead and say that the offensive player can put a bazaar card up for auction, and if he declines to do so, other players may, in turn order (or Timing Rule order) - because if two players both want to put a card up, or make the first bid, you're going to have to go to the Timing Rule anyway.


My intent was to avoid using the Timing Rule in this situation to avoid introducing a repetitive question into the flow of the game(Wanna buy? Wanna buy? You? No? proceed then).

The right of the first bid simply goes to the player who first opened their mouth about it. The other players can still outbid him anyway if they wanted that card for themselves.

But I realize this argument goes the other way too, if you are more comfortable with the structured timing, it should work equally well.

Quote:
These opening bids seem a little out of balance to me.


I'm positive they are. I'm hoping that balance will be handled mostly by the auction system.

Quote:
3 ships: 2
7 ships: 4
Best of two cards: 2
Best of four cards: 3
Best of two Reward Cards: 3


I agree that the minimum bids should be lowered in these cases. I will change them in the rules.

Quote:
Do you get three lucre for using the Extra Encounter Home card?


Yes. The Extra Encounter Home is basically a free encounter up for grabs, as long as the other player don't want to drive up it's price. If they do, someone will still get the card and the home encounter with it. I wanted to encourage driving out foreign colonies.

A free encounter may be a lot, but my gaming group might need a little encouragement before they are willing to risk cards and ships to weaken only one player (and potentially themselves) in the face of the others.

If it turns out it's too much or creates odd abuses, I will raise it's minimum bid to 4.

Quote:
Do these extra encounters come with additional Lucre income phases? Do you get another 3 lucre if this extra encounter is at a home planet?


As stated above, the home encounter was intended to be free. One solution would be to simply lower it's minimum bid to zero, but then it would be riskier to bid on it: you will lose one Lucre, no matter what.

For now, I think I have no problem about the extra encounters providing further Lucre, we simply have to take that into account when deciding on the minimum bid.

Quote:
3x Move 4 Ships : 1
Move up to four ships from any of your colonies to other of your colonies.

1x Move All Ships : 2
Rearrange any or all of your ships among your colonies however you wish.


Ship movement is something our group doesn't really understand yet. Maybe that's why I forget about it, but it's a weak bonus, situational, so perfect for the deck. They re in.

Quote:
1x Rebirth : 6
Re-establish a colony on a home planet by placing 1-4 ships from other colonies there.


I find this one a bit anticlimatic. I would simply add another free home encounter card in it's place, it can accomplish the same thing.

Quote:
1x Extra Deal : 5
Play an encounter immediately, but don't bother with Launch, Allies, or Planning. Both main players are assumed to have played Negotiate cards and have one minute to make a deal.


This one I really like, especially for our group, and it's another opportunity to use Lucre for something. Great idea.

It's minimum bid looks a bit steep tough for the player who initiates the deal, and thus have to pay for the Bazaar card... I'm thinking this will be bought very rarely unless it's minimum bid goes lower.

Quote:
Other than these minor tweaks, I'd say the system looks pretty good!


Thanks! Any thoughts on the investments mechanic? That's the part I'm most concerned about, might be some leaks there.

EDIT: I just realized you commented on the investments too.

Thanks for the additional ideas, I will incorporate them into the first post soon.
 
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muGodz wrote:
Quote:
Do you get three lucre for using the Extra Encounter Home card?

Yes. The Extra Encounter Home is basically a free encounter up for grabs, as long as the other player don't want to drive up it's price. If they do, someone will still get the card and the home encounter with it. I wanted to encourage driving out foreign colonies.

I'm thinking it may not motivate what you want. If I can get it for free, I might just use it to dump a low attack card for the cost of one ship - while costing an opponent a card. Or maybe even to play an N to grab an opponent's cards.

Quote:
Quote:
1x Extra Deal : 5
Play an encounter immediately, but don't bother with Launch, Allies, or Planning. Both main players are assumed to have played Negotiate cards and have one minute to make a deal.


This one I really like, especially for our group, and it's another opportunity to use Lucre for something. Great idea.

It's minimum bid looks a bit steep tough for the player who initiates the deal, and thus have to pay for the Bazaar card... I'm thinking this will be bought very rarely unless it's minimum bid goes lower.

Yeah, you might be right. The player who initiates the deal has to pay his part of the deal, and also pay for the bazaar card.

Hmmm... Maybe it should allow a deal with the purchaser of the card getting the benefit of a "Crooked Deal". This lets the auction winner gain a better deal in compensation for having paid for the privilege. IOW:

1x Extra Deal : ?
Play an encounter immediately, but don't bother with Launch, Allies, or Planning. Both main players are assumed to have played Negotiate cards and have one minute to make a deal. If the deal fails, you lose two ships and your opponent loses four.

As I've said before about the whole Bazaar card idea - IMO, it's main benefit is that it prevents the Lucre Equalization Problem. Only a few specific things are available for purchase at any given time. So even if you have plenty of Lucre, you can't just buy cards or ships whenever you need them.
 
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Mate Cziner
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Quote:
I'm thinking it may not motivate what you want. If I can get it for free, I might just use it to dump a low attack card for the cost of one ship - while costing an opponent a card. Or maybe even to play an N to grab an opponent's cards.


That's a possibility, which may or may not be a problem, depending on how often do the players choose to use it as a dump encounter.

Here is the situation in our group, maybe there is an easier solution for this independent from the Lucre variant.

Nobody ever drives out foreign colonies, even if there is someone obviously in the lead, because they feel that by doing so, they risk too much. Even if it succeeded, driving out a colony hurts the chances of winning the game only of the 2 players involved (defense losing a colony, offense losing an encounter, and thus a potential colony), giving an advantage to all the others. As a result, foreign colonies are treated as done deals, (unless an alien like Poison or Shadow is present), which I don't like.

We could attach the Lucre reward to driving out foreign colonies, but then the Income rules would need to change somehow. If it's a exception that only involves the Extra Encounter Home card, then it would look a bit forced and weird.

Quote:
Hmmm... Maybe it should allow a deal with the purchaser of the card getting the benefit of a "Crooked Deal". This lets the auction winner gain a better deal in compensation for having paid for the privilege.


Perfect.

Quote:
As I've said before about the whole Bazaar card idea - IMO, it's main benefit is that it prevents the Lucre Equalization Problem. Only a few specific things are available for purchase at any given time. So even if you have plenty of Lucre, you can't just buy cards or ships whenever you need them.


We agree on that. And it's thematic, and it helps teaching the variant by presenting half the rules in card format, etc. I'm not sure in reaction to what did you write this, have I suggested somewhere that I would want to change this?
 
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muGodz wrote:
Quote:
I'm thinking it may not motivate what you want. If I can get it for free, I might just use it to dump a low attack card for the cost of one ship - while costing an opponent a card. Or maybe even to play an N to grab an opponent's cards.

That's a possibility, which may or may not be a problem, depending on how often do the players choose to use it as a dump encounter.

Yes, it's not necessarily a problem, just something to bear in mind. Even if it isn't used to directly kick off a foreign colony or reclaim a home colony, at least it may weaken the player who is defense, since he has to play a half-way decent attack card to hang on to the colony. And if that player is in the lead, he gains nothing at best and may have to help out allies with rewards, or his opponent with compensation, or both.

Quote:
Nobody ever drives out foreign colonies, even if there is someone obviously in the lead, because they feel that by doing so, they risk too much.

Right. And that can be a problem, but in my experience, players are often willing to drive out a foreign colony if they've lost their power or ate close to losing it. This is one of the reasons why I dislike powers that can't be lost with too few home colonies.

Quote:
Quote:
As I've said before about the whole Bazaar card idea - IMO, it's main benefit is that it prevents the Lucre Equalization Problem. Only a few specific things are available for purchase at any given time. So even if you have plenty of Lucre, you can't just buy cards or ships whenever you need them.

We agree on that. And it's thematic, and it helps teaching the variant by presenting half the rules in card format, etc. I'm not sure in reaction to what did you write this, have I suggested somewhere that I would want to change this?

Just a random comment of support. The limited and variable list of available purchases is IMO the essential element that was missing from previous implementations of Lucre and may be the thing that could revive the hope that it will be published again.
 
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R
Quote:
ight. And that can be a problem, but in my experience, players are often willing to drive out a foreign colony if they've lost their power or ate close to losing it. This is one of the reasons why I dislike powers that can't be lost with too few home colonies.


Funny thing, not with our group... the loss of powers late game is pretty much an accepted fact of life, and when it happens, usually all but one of the players is within grasp of victory. So instead of trying to regain powers, everybody is taking jabs at gaining the 4th and 5th foreign colony in one turn.

As a result, the endgame is a bit random, it boils down to who's lucky enough to have an encounter at a weakened system, while the rest of the group is out of options to interfere (because those options were spent trying to stop the previous player).

That is why I'm trying to introduce elements that make the victor work a little harder for the 5th colony, and allow more jockeying for a good position.

Quote:
Just a random comment of support. The limited and variable list of available purchases is IMO the essential element that was missing from previous implementations of Lucre and may be the thing that could revive the hope that it will be published again.


Ah, allright, I was overthinking then.

Actually, our gaming group came from Dune. We started to play Cosmic because it became next to impossible to organize Dune because of the 5 player needed for a decent game.

So far, the only thing I really miss from Cosmic compared to Dune, is the social element of fighting for resources (because in that game, every thing you do/get strengthens one other player around the table). I would like to see Lucre in the game to bring back a little of that. But we never played Cosmic with the old Lucre variants.
 
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Mate Cziner
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Printable components for this variant posted in the files section with updated rules.
 
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