Sunday, March 18, 2012

Warfare Tech too strong for Level 1 Tech

When I first made the Warfare Tech cards I worried that they'd be too strong for level 1 cards. At the same time I thought Peace Treaty was too weak, and that combining those 2 didn't really make Warfare Tech any stronger - instead I thought it would be more interesting because more different players would be interested in those cards.

Playtester feedback has been pretty universal that Warfare Tech is too strong. On one hand, this confirms a suspicion I had in the beginning. On the other hand, having played many times as-is, I have not seen the player with Warfare Tech winning regularly, or even more than their fair share. So I was hesitant to weaken the card, thinking perhaps that Warfare Tech was one of those things that looks stronger than it really is.

At this point I've become more of the opinion that the effect of Warfare Tech is on the order of a Level 2 power, not Level 1. Furthermore, while I was worried that players would not want to "waste" a Research role on "just" a Peace Treaty (because it would be "useless" if the opponent simply stops calling Warfare), it occurred to me that forcing your opponent to stop or slow down their Warfare calls (or making them give you a VP if they don't) is far from a waste! So I'm looking at removing the Warfare Tech portion and leaving just Peace treaty on the level 1 permanent techs. Perhaps I'll add a level 2 tech that has the Warfare Tech power (probably in the Metallic stack).

But wait - doesn't that destroy a big. fundamental goal of the expansion? Didn't I want players to be able to get Tech cards without having to fill their decks with Research cards? Well, that's true, but I think the better way accomplish that is to make sure that all (or at least most) of the new tech cards are purchasable with Fighters (or Destroyers) - which is what I've done. I've gone through all of the new Tech cards and made sure that all of them (except Double Time, currently, but I might change that) can be purchased with Fighters instead of Research symbols.

I also wanted Destroyers to be a bigger deal, so I actually made more of the tech cards cost a Destroyer instead of some Fighters. And finally, I made all of the level 3 techs (Annex, and the new permanent techs Well Oiled Machine/Wingman*) cost a Dreadnaught instead of 7 Research symbols. I am completely open to name suggestions for these by the way.

* Did I not mention? I made a couple more tech cards for the Diverse stack:
Well Oiled Machine: You may take an additional Role phase each turn. Opponents may Follow or Dissent as normal.
Cost: 7 Research OR Dreadnaught
Wingman: [Destroyer icon] (A Destroyer you can spend once per turn, like the Fighter cons on the hostile planets)
Cost: 7 Research OR Dreadnaught
Midnight Oil: Action: choose a Role. Players may Follow or Dissent as normal.

Cost: 5 Research OR Destroyer

In other news, I thought Oversight Committee might be too powerful at "+2 Hand Size" - so I tried adjusting it to "+1 Hand Size" and added "Action: Draw 3 Cards" - I like the idea of tech cards with actions on them. however, I kinda liked the simplicity and strength of "+2 Hand Size," so I might switch it back. Or more specifically, I could make the back side of Wealth of Knowledge be "Warfare Technology," and replace Combat Maneuvers with Oversight Committee. It seems like Combat Maneuvers is never used, and I'm not sure whether it's really very useful. Of course, I've taken steps to make Destroyers a bigger deal, so maybe that card will improve a bit..?

At any rate, I'm enjoying the expansion, and i like the direction it's taken. I think it's nearing completion. I'd love to hear some more playtest reports from people, especially if they've been keeping up with the adjustments I've been making.

Speaking of playtesters, I'd like to give a big thanks out to those who have printed out the expansion and provided feedback! All of it is very useful and helpful. Thanks for being part of the process :)

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