Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Eminent Domain: Exotic getting close...

Last week I posted some refined thoughts on Asteroids for EmDo: Exotica. I have played a couple of games with the Mining Tech tiles and new and improved "Lunar" techs, and I have refined them even further.

"Lunar" Techs

Actually, I think the "Lunar" techs are pretty solid at the moment.

I think the Asteroids were too good and too cheap, so I think I'll try this next:

* Asteroids will be worth 0-1 VP. The better icons (Hand Size, Research, Colonize, and possibly the replenishing resource slot) will be worth 0vp, the weaker icons (Survey, Trade, Produce, Warfare) will be worth 1vp.
* Mining Tech will allow you to Settle/Attack as if the Asteroids had Colonize/Warfare costs of 3.
* Improved Mining will allow you to Settle/Attack as if the Asteroids had Colonize/Warfare costs of 2, Will give you the option of "Action: Discard your hand, flip 1 Asteroid," and will allow you to keep 1 additional Asteroid each Survey phase.

This way I think the Asteroids will be appropriately bad unless you upgrade to Improved Mining, in which case they will be mostly harmless, and if you decide to start flipping them, then you can pursue some decent tech.

Exotic symbols and Translators

I was thinking a little more about the Exotic symbols and translators, and I like how they work, but I've always kinda thought there should be a way to purchase a translator (i.e. via Research). Therefore I'm considering the following 2 options:

Option 1: Add a L1 permanent tech to each of the basic research stacks (Adv/Fert/Met) which is a translator for the native icons for that planet type. For example, the one in the Metallic stack would have [Exo]=>[Survey] on one side, and [Exo]=>[Warfare] on the other.

Option 2: In case that's not useful enough, I could put both native translators on the same side of the card... [Exo]=>[Warfare OR Survey]. Then I'd have to come up with some other tech for the back side of the card. It could relate to Asteroids perhaps.

In this case I would like to put Alien Artifact (L1 perm tech which provides an Exo symbol) back into the Exotic stack. Currently it's backed with a Peace Treaty, which should exist in the Exo-Esc subset, but probably shouldn't exist in just Exotic... so I'll need 2 more L1 perm techs for the Exotic stack (one to back Alien Artifact, the other to back Peace Treaty).

Potential permanent L1 tech that relates to Asteroids (brainstorming - these might be terrible):

* Fertile stack: Face up Asteroids in your Empire gain [Produce icon]
* Advanced stack: Face up Asteroids in your Empire gain [Trade icon]
* Metallic stack: Face up Asteroids in your Empire gain [Survey icon]

These seem OK - I'm not too worried about getting those symbols in play - Research and Colonize icons are the troublesome ones. However, I am a little weary of getting too many Symbols in play in general, so this isn't great. Also, the Advanced one is pretty similar to Freedom of Trade from Escalation.

* Fertile stack: Whenever you flip an Asteroid: Settle 1 Planet and Produce 2 Resources
* Advanced stack: Whenever you flip an Asteroid: Collect 1 VP and remove up to 2 cards in hand or discard pile from the game.
* Metallic stack: Whenever you flip an Asteroid: Draw 2 cards and collect 2 Fighters

These aren't bad. They may need some tweaking, but effectively they give you an extra fancy action once every time you flip an Asteroid. So you would get it if you have some face down Asteroids (or plan to take them). You'll only get the effect like 3-5 times most likely, so hopefully it won't be out of control. Maybe I'll try this type of thing first.

Give me your suggestions in the comments below!

Reverse side of Alien Artifact (and Peace Treaty)

As I mentioned, I'd like to move Alien Artifact into the Exo stack as well, which means it needs something on the back of it as well. For now I have one of the previous ideas... "If you have at least 1 Asteroid in your Empire... +1 Hand Size." Hand Size bonuses are really good, I have a L2 card in Escalation which gave Hand Size +2, which I decided was a little too good, so now it gives Hand Size +1 and another smaller benefit. An L1 card that gives Hand Size +1 is pretty powerful, but having to take an Asteroid before it works does add some cost to it. I might have to up that to 2 Asteroids or something like that, but it might be OK.

I could do something like the above, a triggered effect when you flip an Asteroid... but what? Something weird or goofy, like "Whenever you flip an Asteroid, you may return a Tech card to the supply and take another tech card of the same level from the supply into your hand," or maybe more useful "...another tech card of the next level" (i.e. upgrade a tech card).

Or perhaps some deck fixing (without messing with stuff that scores points): "When you flip an Asteroid, you may return any number of standard role cards from your hand to the stacks, and then take up to 1 role card from the stacks to your hand." Of course, that doesn't work well if you discard your hand to flip the Asteroid :/

An option for helping with Translators could be something like this: "When THIS comes into play, tuck a Standard Role card from your hand under it (or from the stacks?). You may treat [Exo icons] as if they were that Role symbol." So a way to choose a translator... either from what you've got in hand, or choose from any. Mechanically I kinda like having to place a card from your hand.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this - feel free to leave a comment.


Seth Jaffee said...

I may have a better idea for a L1 permanent tech for the back side of Peace Treaty...

Rather than a situational Hand Size +1, what about a tech that helps you find planets you prefer to have... it can't be as good as the Level 2 techs that do that, but maybe something like this...

Title: No idea - thoughts?
Permanent L1 tech, Exotic stack
During a Survey role, you may discard a planet in your Empire. If you do, you may keep 1 additional planet card.

I think it could also have a Survey icon, to help give the player a chance to find what they're looking for.

The purpose of this tech is to allow a player to try and find more Exotic icons, Translators, or additional Exotic planets (for research purposes) that they need. It could also be combo'ed with things like Improved Mining to keep extra Asteroids, then discard them in favor of real planets, and the fact that it's got a Survey icon means you'll have an easier time finding the planets you want in the first place, and if you're going the Asteroid route it means you'll have an easier time finding those as well (and keeping a planet in addition to them).

This tech may allow a player to play the old school "just follow for 1 planet" frequently rather than call Survey themselves, and on the average still be able to get planets that they want.

Putting this card on the back of Peace Treaty means it won't show up until Exotic and Escalation are mixed together, and at that time there'll be 16-18 cards added to the planet deck, making this technology all the more useful.

When I get home I will create this card so that I can give it a try.

In addition to this, I looked at the Asteroid concentration in the deck, and how it'll change when Bonus planets are added, and when Escalation is added:

EXO: 9/54 cards are Asteroids (16.67%)
EXO+BONUS: 9/63 cards are Asteroids (14.29%)
EXO+ESC: 10/70 cards are Asteroids (14.29%)
EXO+ESC+BONUS: 10/79 cards are Asteroids (12.66%)

Adding 2 Asteroids in the EXO-ESC subset makes the numbers look like this:

EXO: 9/54 cards are Asteroids (16.67%)
EXO+BONUS: 9/63 cards are Asteroids (14.29%)
EXO+ESC: 12/72 cards are Asteroids (16.67%)
EXO+ESC+BONUS: 12/81 cards are Asteroids (14.81%)

So no matter which combination is being used, the concentration of Asteroids will hover around 15% (+/- 1%) - I think that's good, so I'll try adding 2 more Asteroids in the EXO-ESC subset:
* No symbol, Crystal slot, 2vp
* No symbol, No resource slot, 3vp

These Asteroids are a little boring, but I like them all being unique, and at this point I just want numbers, so they'll do.

Kirian said...

So, um, this is going to sound really nitpicky, but "Exotica" is going to look too much like "Erotica" to be a grand idea, I think...