Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Eminent Domain - Trade role and Planet deck

I'm liking the way Eminent Domain is shaping up as a game. I've enjoyed my 2p games of it thus far, but I've only played a couple multiplayer games. The other night I played a 4 player game, and I liked how the game played in general, but I found Harvest/Trade mechanism underwhelming, as did other players. In 2 player games I have managed to do well with a trading strategy, but for some reason this time it didn't seem even possible.

I will note that it may well have seemed impossible because nobody was going for it, and if someone had gone for it then it might have panned out for them after all. However, I had the most face up planets out of the 4 of us, and I seemed to have very few available resource slots. This may be because when I revamped the planets I tried to make them more interesting and I removed some of the resource slots, especially from the Metallic planets. However I happened to have the 1 Fertile planet with no resource slots. I went through and added a few slots back in (in pencil), so I'll see if that helps.

I don't think more slots will fix the issue on its own, because I was already unsure if I liked the Harvest/Trade dynamic as it stood. On David's suggestion I would like to try changing the Trade Role effect to be "For each Trade icon, trade 1 resource for 2vp." The Trade Action would continue to be "Get 1vp."

I had what I thought was a new idea in the car this morning: What if the Trade Role were "trade in ALL of your Resources. Get 1vp per resource traded, PLUS 1vp per trade icon played." Thus, you could get decent rewards for specializing in Harvest, as 1 Trade role could cash in a bunch of resources for 1vp apiece, which you could get all at once with a single Harvest role; and you could get decent rewards for specializing in Trade, as 1 Trade role could cash in a bunch of Trade cards for 1vp apiece, so long as you have at least 1 Resource. If you specialize in both Harvest and Trade you could Harvest several resources at once, then trade them all for an effective 2vp apiece.

Come to think of it though that's not very different from getting 2vp per resource and trading 1 resource per trade icon. The latter case just puts a limit on the number of resources/trade icons you can score for because for each 2vp you need to have one of each (a resource and a trade card). So maybe the "Trade 1 resource per trade icon for 2vp" idea proposed above is a better idea. I'll try that next time I play. Now to update the player aid (again)!

Which brings me to Planets... this is really a different thing altogether, but I didn't want to make 2 separate posts.

I had considered reorganizing the planet deck in the same way I did the Tech cards - 3 piles by type, Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 planets... The cost of getting a planet in play in front of you would be 3/5/7 Survey symbols (mirroring the Research role). However, in that scheme there's nothing to stop someone with a ton of Survey cards from just grabbing all the high end planets, skipping the low ones. here are a few ideas about that, in no particular order:

* When Surveying a Level 2 or 3 planet, remove 1 or 3 Survey cards from the game (of the ones you're paying). This was something I though was neat when I considered it for Research - if you build up and grab an expensive item, it thins some Survey cards out of your deck. If you want another high end planet you'll have to build back up. If you don't care for another expensive planet, then you can be happy about thinning those Surveys out of your deck. However, thematically it doesn't make a tone of sense that you get worse at Surveying after you do a big Survey action. I'm not sure that matters though - there are probably plenty of thematic oddities in the game already.

* I could force players to go in order - you cannot Survey a Level 2 planet until you have a face up Level 1 planet of that type. Similarly, you cannot Survey a Level 3 planet until you have a face up Level 2 planet of that type.

* A variation of the last idea - there could be an additional attribute on some (or all) planets - some symbol, let's call it an X. In order to Survey a level 2 planet, maybe you need XX in play. In order to Survey a Level 3 planet, maybe you need XXX in play. In this way, planets could cross pollinate, imagine X is for Fertile, Y is for Advanced and Z is for Metallic... while some Metallic planets have Z's on them, maybe one Metallic planet has an X and one has a Y (since Metallic is the Survey type). Fertile planets would only have X's (or nothing). This would be in addition to potentially Action icons, Hand Size increases, or Resource slots.

Is that last idea too complicated? Maybe the "go in order" idea is the beast idea because it's simple. I kinda like the removing cards from the game idea as well though.

Is there another way to do it? Feel free to leave a comment if you think of something!

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