Saturday, February 25, 2012

EmDo: Warmonger progress

I've sent out Warmonger to a number of volunteers to playtest, and I'm starting to get some reports back. I'm looking forward to seeing more feedback from them.

I've been playing the expansion quite a bit myself, and tonight I went through the new tech cards to evaluate how I currently feel about them. I have some adjustments I'd like to make to some of them:

* Destroyer Technology: This card gives you a Destroyer as an action, and also itself counts as a Destroyer. That doesn't really make sense... you could save the action and just hold onto the card. I'm going to change that Destroyer icon to 2 Fighter icons instead, I think that would be more interesting.

* Dreadnaught Technology: Similar problem, why spend an action and a Destroyer to get your Dreadnaught mini when you could instead just hold onto the card and discard it as a Dreadnaught - the only thing you lose is the Warfare discount doing it that way. Also, I don't like Level 2 cards having Dreadnaughts on them anyway. I think I'd like to change that one to a Destroyer - so Dreadnaught Technology IS a Destroyer, and it allows you to turn a Destroyer into a Dreadnaught mini.

* Utility and Freedom of Trade: I added a Produce Symbol to Utility and a Trade symbol to Freedom of Trade in order to make them good enough... I do not think that Utility needs it though, it's a pretty powerful as it is with just a little effort. Freedom of Trade however is very possibly useless, so it did need a symbol, and in fact I might try adding a 2nd Trade symbol just to see how that goes. I don't want to have both a Produce AND a Trade icon, because that feels wrong to me (too easy). 2 Trade icons might be interesting though.

* Biosphere: I had added a Produce symbol to Biosphere because just 2 Resource slots does not seem to be on par with other Level 2 techs. It's been a thematic oddity that you'd need a Biosphere in order to store Iron and Silicon, but the point of the card is to allow a Fertile Empire to produce all 4 resource types. John suggested I make those slots hold "Any Resource" instead, which would (a) fix that thematic oddity, and (b) improve the card a bit because it supports Specialization and Specialized Production in addition to Genetic Engineering and Diverse Markets.

* Spoils of War: I seem to have accidentally left the 2vp off of this Level 2 card. That was an oversight, that card should be worth 2vp like the other Level 2 cards.

* New Start planets: I have been trying out some Start planets which cost the same as the ones in the base game, but are worth 0vp (or in some cases, -2vp) but come with one of the 6 Role symbols on them. Originally I had tried putting role symbols on the start planets, but I did not like it because flipping your Start planet first became a no-brainer. I preferred the choice between flipping the Start planet in order to do Research and Surveying up a better planet first. Admittedly, I get the impression that most players simply flip their Start planet first anyway, but that ignores some of the strategic space that I actually very much like. There's a trick I used to use wherein I would follow another player's Colonize role ad tuck my starting Colonize cards under my start planet, pursue Warfare to flip other planets, and only flip the Start planet at the end of the game with a Colonize role for the 2vp! So I'm seriously considering NOT including the cheap Start planets in the expansion, or at the very least, increasing the cost to 3/3 or so.

Edit to add:
I am actually very happy with the expensive planets, but I've heard back from a couple of playtesters that they think they're too expensive. I fear that players prefer to blindly flip their start planet before doing anything else, rather than consider Surveying first. this is true for the expensive planets (Survey for a cheaper one, or commit to flipping then get 2 planets worth of benefits) - and it also applies to the regular stat planets (flip cheaply to start researching, or Survey up a planet that will be more useful to flip first). This is why I didn't put symbols on the start planets in the first place, and why I'm leaning toward cutting the new ones with symbols (or at least increasing their price to 3/3).

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