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Rex: Final Days of an Empire» Forums » Variants

Subject: A change in the use of the betrayal cards rss

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Joseph Courtight
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In my mind the original thought behind the betrayal cards was that they would give someone hesitation to form/stay in an alliance. Since, many game once teams are formed they tend not to change much.

The problem with the betrayal cards is that players get so caught up in winning as a team, that they forget about them/do not want to turn on each other. I will not lie is difficult enough to win much less meet those conditions on the card.
The first change is that any racial victory functions the same as a betrayal card. And by this I mean all racial victories are solo.

Second is the way the cards actually work. If an alliance wins, the person with the highest number betrayal card must claim a solo win, regardless of the condition (1 is the best, 2 is the second best, etc)

The last change is that completing the condition keeps you from being betrayed, having everyone in the alliance complete their condition.

This ensures that players will not trust each other because betrayals will happen. This will also make people work a little for their alliance win.

Thoughts?
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Maltuvion Irewood
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Dalek5 wrote:
In my mind the original thought behind the betrayal cards was that they would give someone hesitation to form/stay in an alliance. Since, many game once teams are formed they tend not to change much.

The problem with the betrayal cards is that players get so caught up in winning as a team, that they forget about them/do not want to turn on each other. I will not lie is difficult enough to win much less meet those conditions on the card.
The first change is that any racial victory functions the same as a betrayal card. And by this I mean all racial victories are solo.

Second is the way the cards actually work. If an alliance wins, the person with the highest number betrayal card must claim a solo win, regardless of the condition (1 is the best, 2 is the second best, etc)

The last change is that completing the condition keeps you from being betrayed, having everyone in the alliance complete their condition.

This ensures that players will not trust each other because betrayals will happen. This will also make people work a little for their alliance win.

Thoughts?


I some ways I agree; right now betrayal cards are a bit too unknown in my opinion, making it something you essentially cannot account for in any meaningful way, other than that "they might happen". Coupled with the fact that winning alone and outside an alliance is very hard, betrayal cards are most of the time not deterrants to staying in an alliance.

On one hand I think that is the charm of Rex as opposed to many other games; actual alliances can and do matter, and it is nice having an alternative 'every man for himself', although Rex accomodates this style as well. Making alliances worse risks diminishing this rather unique aspect.

On the other hand, I agree with you that they do not fulfill their intended role - discouraging blind alliance loyalty - right now. They are simply too abstract and unknown to have a meaningful chance at fulfilling that role. An experienced player may deduce what betrayal card a person sits with (if a player has the Galactic Council filled to the brim with troops, chances are he sits with "1" betrayal card), but it's ultimately guesswork.

Making racial victories solo would not solve the problem I think. It would be far too easy for, say, Hacan, to simply work against his own alliance by refusing to work towards the 5 strongholds, instead turtling on one stronghold. Same goes for Sol to a lesser extent, and it would be understandable if things worked the way you propose they did with betrayal cards; better to stall for time by being in an alliance and then secretly working against it.

Perhaps a new set of Betrayal cards and a slight redesign would be better? Would also be easy for FFG to make. How I do not know however, but I fully agree that it's not ideal currently because the betrayal cards are far too removed from the actual play.
 
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Adam McLean
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Dalek5 wrote:
In my mind the original thought behind the betrayal cards was that they would give someone hesitation to form/stay in an alliance. Since, many game once teams are formed they tend not to change much.

The problem with the betrayal cards is that players get so caught up in winning as a team, that they forget about them/do not want to turn on each other. I will not lie is difficult enough to win much less meet those conditions on the card.
The first change is that any racial victory functions the same as a betrayal card. And by this I mean all racial victories are solo.

Second is the way the cards actually work. If an alliance wins, the person with the highest number betrayal card must claim a solo win, regardless of the condition (1 is the best, 2 is the second best, etc)

The last change is that completing the condition keeps you from being betrayed, having everyone in the alliance complete their condition.

This ensures that players will not trust each other because betrayals will happen. This will also make people work a little for their alliance win.

Thoughts?



I think the Betrayal cards are supposed to be the happy medium. What I mean by that is, they give everyone an opportunity to play solo, even within their alliance. This game has so much resting on the diplomacy and betrayal, but when a powerful alliance is rolling through the game, it's natural to want to win as a group ... but in reality, those players are not playing to the true intention of the game which is to win alone.

Ideally, each player should be in an alliance to take advantage of the powers of the other players in a way to help them win solo. That is difficult in this game because it's only 8 turns, the number of opportunities to make/break alliances may be limited depending on the card draw, and the alliance mechanic is very strong (in that, can't be broken at will, can't attack your allies, etc.).

Our group likes them, but any expansion or house rules that get released ... we are also open to trying them.
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Maltuvion Irewood
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oatesatm wrote:
Dalek5 wrote:
In my mind the original thought behind the betrayal cards was that they would give someone hesitation to form/stay in an alliance. Since, many game once teams are formed they tend not to change much.

The problem with the betrayal cards is that players get so caught up in winning as a team, that they forget about them/do not want to turn on each other. I will not lie is difficult enough to win much less meet those conditions on the card.
The first change is that any racial victory functions the same as a betrayal card. And by this I mean all racial victories are solo.

Second is the way the cards actually work. If an alliance wins, the person with the highest number betrayal card must claim a solo win, regardless of the condition (1 is the best, 2 is the second best, etc)

The last change is that completing the condition keeps you from being betrayed, having everyone in the alliance complete their condition.

This ensures that players will not trust each other because betrayals will happen. This will also make people work a little for their alliance win.

Thoughts?



I think the Betrayal cards are supposed to be the happy medium. What I mean by that is, they give everyone an opportunity to play solo, even within their alliance. This game has so much resting on the diplomacy and betrayal, but when a powerful alliance is rolling through the game, it's natural to want to win as a group ... but in reality, those players are not playing to the true intention of the game which is to win alone.

Ideally, each player should be in an alliance to take advantage of the powers of the other players in a way to help them win solo. That is difficult in this game because it's only 8 turns, the number of opportunities to make/break alliances may be limited depending on the card draw, and the alliance mechanic is very strong (in that, can't be broken at will, can't attack your allies, etc.).

Our group likes them, but any expansion or house rules that get released ... we are also open to trying them.


Very true, I think. I guess they're implemented because the behavior that you describe - which I also think is the original design intent - is very hard to properly facilitate in 8 turns, as opposed to Dune's 15.
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Maltuvion Irewood
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In hopes of reigniting the discussion and getting the creative juices flowing...

I had a PnP game of Rex a couple of days ago, in which I, as Sol, won as part of a Lazax/Jol-Nar/Sol Alliance. Our first ceasefire came in round 5 (yeah...) and the game ended on turn 7 with us claiming all 5 strongholds in the game.

However, after the game the Jol-Nar played Betrayal Card number 2 and won the game. As for "who worked most for the alliance", the Lazax was 100% the ultimate deciding factor in the victory; from supplying us with 10 and 30 resources during the ceasefire to controlling 2 of the 5 strongholds (I controlled the 2 Sol strongholds as a fail-safe against Hacan round 8) to winning a monumental battle in the Navy Base in turn 7 against the combined forces of Xxcha, Hacan and Barony of Letnev (who were all unallied in order to prevent our win), he probably accounted for 90% of the reason we won, with Jol-Nar and myself being there solely due to Special Victory condition and ally advantage.

We all felt - including the Jol-Nar player - that the betrayal was really lame, especially as Betrayal 2 (lowest casualty pool) encourages passive play, but on the other hand it wouldn't make sense to play with Betrayal Cards if they're not used. They are, however, extremely arbitrary and removed from the game, which makes for a frustrating mechanic in which people have very limited ability to account for them (especially in PnP where they favor several playthrough's of experience), and where it is rarely tied to skillful play but rather "oh, I got screwed by another player's lucky random draw before we even started. Wish I'd known that before".

Can we really not conjure up something better for betrayal cards? A stray thought:

Betrayal cards add their number * 10 in "win percentage".
When you win in an alliance, you win AS the alliance just as usual, but IF you want to betray, we have to count percentages. We could say something like the following:

Win percentage COULD BE calculated from the following:

- Your casualties compared to average pool of casualties across all players. Positive/negative difference = Added/subtracted from win percentage.

- Your number of Strongholds * 10 = added to win percentage

Hmm... Anything else? I am loathe to start including units on the table and strategy cards because it would inherently favor certain races such as Sol, Letnev etc...




On an entirely different note, the game we played also showed how Barony of Letnev - in our opinion - have been severely diminished in power compared to Harkonnen in Dune due to the structural differences in the game, but that's for another threat
 
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Scott Lewis
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Dalek5 wrote:
Second is the way the cards actually work. If an alliance wins, the person with the highest number betrayal card must claim a solo win, regardless of the condition (1 is the best, 2 is the second best, etc)

The last change is that completing the condition keeps you from being betrayed, having everyone in the alliance complete their condition.

The person with the #1 would really have no reason to try for their condition; they would win either way, and can't be betrayed since their card trumps.
 
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Joseph Courtight
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sigmazero13 wrote:
Dalek5 wrote:
Second is the way the cards actually work. If an alliance wins, the person with the highest number betrayal card must claim a solo win, regardless of the condition (1 is the best, 2 is the second best, etc)

The last change is that completing the condition keeps you from being betrayed, having everyone in the alliance complete their condition.

The person with the #1 would really have no reason to try for their condition; they would win either way, and can't be betrayed since their card trumps.


This is true. I originally, thought to add a number 0 card into the mix, but wanted to use only the cards in the set. If you have a lower number like six you need to beware of someone who seems really eager to be in allies.

This variant is not balanced for all players, but it is interesting. You need to watch your opponents a bit to decide if they may have the number one card.

I also had the idea to create a stradegy card which lets you swap betrayal cards with any opponent, but did not play test this yet.
 
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King in Green
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I was also considering a sort of points based approach, with some secret missions, for example:

I've got the power!

Control of Metacol Power North 10

Control of Metacol Power South 15

Control of both 30

Possession of an energy rifle 5

Possession of a shield 5

And so on, with those points being added to your influence tally, number of units etc.

However, I feel like the theme and atmosphere of the game run counter to points tallying, and lend themselves more to cut and dried betrayal conditions. Perhaps there should be more conditions to the betrayals, and ways to guard against them. Master of Deceit might be foiled if the opponent has an unused traitor of that faction for example. There were some good ideas in the Dune forum too I think. Adding a few more strategy cards might be interesting although it favours certain factions.
 
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It might also be interesting if a betrayal could be cancelled by having an unused traitor of that faction. That would favour Letnev but you might need a high value traitor to cancel higher value cards. Also, it might be interesting if one could fulfil more than one betrayal card for a higher score. The Rex deck could probably use a few strategy cards that interact with the Betrayals. and also some that relate to the various spaces on the board. Right now they encourage too much conservatism due to their lack of interaction with the game but strong effect on its play.
 
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