Nicholas Ehlers
United States
Fairview Heights
Illinois
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I'll begin by saying that this does not contain any playable, or even testable, rules. Rather, this is a thought I've been kicking around since my last TI session (I'll further admit to having caught something of a TI bug and have been spending WAAAY too much time trawling around.) But I digress.

With so many Action and Political cards, even the biggest sticklers I've met admit to splitting the action deck into two decks for either end of the table, it occurs that there are a significant number which don't cycle into play in the course of a game. That's not a criticism of the game, TI's greatest strength has always been its willingness to just be as wildly completionist as it is. Further, while I've seen games where a Xacha war fleet turns worlds to ash, more often I've seen players hold hands of political cards they simply don't want or action cards that don't make any sense.

Before proposing anything, I hoped the community may have some input then, or a mechanic by which each player would have greater control over their pool of action a/o political cards. My first thought would be to allow the players to draft a deck of these cards before play begins. However, with so many cards (and given the ...attention to detail... of most gamers) a phase like this would likely mean twelve hours before hand of deck building. Another, more frontloaded otpion may be to divide these cards into broad categories, which players would take before the game. For example, a deck of "Technological Development" cards, with an emphasis on tech.

Ultimately, this may prove only to be a thought experiment. It may simply be too intensive to provide too little return. If you have any input however, or have considered or implemented similar variants I would be interested to hear about them.
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Steve Williams
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Firstly, have a look at Removing Political Chaff and Thinning the Action Card Deck.

If you still feel a Draft variant is needed after those changes, I'd love to see what you come up with. Drafting is great, and it would be interesting to see it in elements of TI3 beyond strategy card selection.
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What about simply making the rule, instead of "draw 1 action card", change it to "draw 2 action cards, keep one and discard the other"?
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Thomas Robb
United States
Calais
Maine
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(I own and use parts from the TI3 plus both expansions)
We are all Newbies (played less than 3 games)

Firstly, I reduced the Action Deck by at least one-half paying particular attention to selecting cards easy for beginners to understand, cards with less complicated actions, and cards that are faster to do (for example not choosing the Action Card that lets you look through the discard pile for another Action Card which takes too long - especially in a long type of game)

Secondly, I reduce the political deck to about 24-25 total cards that I feel would have a more powerful effect on almost all players whenever played in the political phase.

Thirdly, all players get 2 Political Cards to start the game dealt face down. If a player chooses the Assembly Strategy Card (3), then they draw 1 Political Card and 2 Action Cards per instructions. They choose either the Speaker Token or play a political card or other way round.

Fourthly, the player who will choose the political card to play does so (I have the PC's typed on large sheet of paper and hanging on magnetic board so they are easy to read). They may choose to play the PC they just drew or one from their original hand of two. That PC is discarded after the political decision is made but IF there is a new law or future action resulting from that political play, then the large sheet is hung up for all to see and remember and the PC card goes to the bottom of the deck.
No player may have more than 3 PC's in their hand - if they do they must discard down to 3.

So, to play political cards, you must choose Assembly Strategy Card that
you may then use to get the Speaker Token or play a
political card - whichever strategy you are going for.

We also use Age of Empires (with all of the Victory Point cards also typed on large sheets of paper and taped to the wall so players can plan strategies throughout the game on how to get Victory Points).

 
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Roger Wilco
Germany
Braunschweig
NDS
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You could divide the ACs up into separate heaps, assigning different values to them, maybe 1,2,3 or 1,2,4 or 1,3,5 and then give players a designated amount of ACpts whenever they would be allowed to draw a card. That way you can control the amount of ACs getting cycled through the game and a lot of variance in quality of AC draws is eliminated.
 
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Necessary Evil
United States
Glen Arm
Maryland
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I don't support reducing the action deck. It seems to work out just fine in all the games I have played. You can see more cards by researching the proper techs and since I always play bureaucracy taking the secondary. The only exception to this is the new cards from shards that give a trade good when not using that rule. I would rather them be discarded and draw another card.

The political deck is different. I am not sure I like thinning it, because you do not want the political cards to all be the huge game changers, this would make the game swing too wildly. I prefer giving the players more choice than a top deck however.

We have adopted the following rule: (I use it at the WBC too)

every time you are to play a political card, you draw 3, choose 1 card and add it to you hand put the other 2 at the bottom of the deck. Then play a card from your hand.


This Variant should work with all assembly or political strategy cards. and achieves a few things:
1) it lets you see more card so you can pick one that suit the game well.
2) It gives you the ability to pocket a card for later.(if playing SE rules)

The only change I am thinking of adding is allowing for more cards (4 maybe 5) and allowing the discards to be either Top or Bottom of the deck.

I have considered a display, where 5 cards are face up to choose from, however I worry that seeing whats coming would make people avoid actions that would be hurt by cards. I.E who in their right mind is gonna land a big fleet on Rex with Ancient Artifact sitting there. Also I feel the surprise of the play is what makes a lot of the fun, knowing ahead of time IMHO is too much information. (I don't like face up objectives either, for the same reason)

-M





 
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Thomas Robb
United States
Calais
Maine
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I like Necessary Evil's idea of drawing 3 and choosing 1 political card. The reason I have chosen AC's and PC's and shortened decks is to give Newbies a chance to learn the game and not be so overwhelmed.

That's also the idea behind all players seeing Victory Points before the game starts - to plan and to see how VP's might best work.

Once we have more playing time, I will definitely rework how to play the Action and Political cards in our games and maybe not play Age of Empires version of Victory Points.

Thanks Necessary Evil - great idea!!!!
 
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