mads l. brynnum
2400 Kbh. NV
I know most of these suggestions (if not all of them) have been mentioned before in this forum, but this is a collection of the variants I'm usually playing with. My primary concerns with the original rules have been that a) the ISC is a "must take" and not really a choice one has to make and b) the playing time - I like long games, I really like TI3, but I do think that 6-8 hours or more of playing the same game is a tad too much. So here goes:
We play with ISC at one point. Maybe it's still a "must take" to some extent, but I like the simplicity of just reducing the gain from taking that strategy card.
If possible all players get two secret objectives, but can only qualify for one of them during the game. This is to reduce the risk of getting a secret objective which is just plain impossible to qualify for because of for example board position. Furthermore, if playing with Distant Suns, the objective about wormholes only refer to the original wormholes (a rule we play with because we like wormholes and usually include all 4).
The first player to qualify for a given public objective get an extra VP. The last player to qualify for a public objective get no VPs. This can favour races with a lot of techs in the beginning of the game if the right objectives are drawn, but the general idea is to encourage players to qualify for objectives.
These variants speed up the game quite a bit. What I'm missing is more secret objectives which are more active ("I do this to that player" rather than "I now have built/have etc."). That is, objectives which reward daring feats, tactical brilliance and spectacular maneouvers. But I think maybe Mendosas objective mentioned in another thread can work that way.
Please note. This is meant as suggestions for players who first and foremost of all want less playing time and surprising development in the VP-area. Using these variants one player can actually gain 6 VP during a simple turn (1 for holding the ISC, 2 for qualifying for his/her secret objective, and three for being the first to qualfify for a phase 2 objective worth 2 points). I like it, you might not, but please do not see this as yet another discusssion of whether or not the ISC is balanced.
In my opinion the game takes too long for whats in it, especially for someone who has not played it 10+ times already.
Combat between players is simply too dangerous because of the combat mechanics and the unpredictability caused by powerful action cards. Also the game should progress faster to a point where players clash.
The VP system is unexciting and favors the starting player.
And yet, the components are excellent. The races alone create a dense atmosphere that somehow catches me. This game oozes theme and I really would like to like this game, but I can't.
Minor tinkering will not do, the ISC at 1 does nothing for space combat and the game dragging.
So I decided to write a variant for it - a variant for all those who would play if the game was faster and had more combat as opposed to those who like the game in his current incarnation because it is "epic". In other words - a variant for "euro-gamer-whimps", like me for example.
I am done now and we will playtest the thing over the next 7 days. Then I will post the rules, jpg's of the overlays/new cards and a detailed session report for everyone interested to see wether they could like it or not.