Thursday, March 28, 2013

Continued EmDice Thoughts

It occurred to me today that perhaps I've overlooked something for EmDice.

I had noticed that whenever possible, you want to Follow a role, get a little something, and re-roll the dice - but occasionally you might have only 1 Warfare symbol, but 3 Trade symbols, and you might opt to Dissent Warfare in order to re-roll the Trade symbols.

In the card game, you either get to Follow or Dissent. In the dice game you (currently) sort of get to do both. That's kinda lame. So my next game I think I'll try this...

* Whenever you use a die, you set it aside in a "used" pile, where it is out of play until further notice.
* Dissenting rules do not change, you may re-roll active dice of 1 type (+1 die for each "re-roll +1" power).
* During your Cleanup phase (at the end of your own turn), you may set aside as many of your remaining dice as you want, then re-roll all 'used' dice back into your Empire.

This might work a little better, and at the same time it might clean up the confusion that some players have had about which dice you need to re-roll and when.

Edit:
I did try this last night, and... well, the Jury's still out. In some ways it was better, but in some ways I'm not sure I liked it as much.

For those printing and playing EmDice, I would be very interested in your opinions after playing each of those ways. Which do you prefer (as a player), and why?

Thanks!

8 comments:

Ashman said...

Just to be clear: this change basically means that the "All players roll dice in hand" rule is removed from the cleanup phase, so that dice picked up to "Follow" can only be used once until you get them back to reroll at the end of your turn?

Seth Jaffee said...

That is correct.

For those printing and playing the game, I would be very interested in your opinion of the game using each of those rules.

Thanks!

Ashman said...

EmDice First Impressions

First of all, and most importantly, the game ''works''. It flows nicely, it's elegant, it has the EmDo feel, it's fun.

I've played three two-player games, and all of them were close: 14:13, 13:15, 19:17.
The numbers might need a bit of tweaking - it seems to me that Research is too expensive: In the three games we only once had a single Level 3 Tech.
The decisive factor in two of the games was Trade and /or Produce for 3 goods while the other player couldn't follow.

A big difference to EmDo is that it is a perfect information game – you exactly know if your opponents will be able to follow, you can count the VPs, so you can make much more informed decisions. You will often need to consider doing not what is the best for you, but what gives you a small advantage while your opponents can't follow – you also want to do this in EmDo, but there you don't have all the information required.
On the other hand, the nature of the dice game makes it more luck driven than the card version – you can't avoid rerolling symbols that you can get rid of in EmDo.

My only ''concern'' - if you can even call it that – is that while you have a lot of opportunity to streamline and individualize your deck to concentrate on specific aspects (like Produce/Trade) in EmDo, the fact that e.g. all planets can produce goods allows for using Produce/Trade successfully for everyone.
So it feels more tactical and situation-dependent than strategical.

The rules change proposed in this post is a good one. Without it, it's as if EmDo had ''after you followed a role, draw as many cards as you used for following''. It might call for a player board in the finished version, though.


Further comments:

1. The Tech Board contains the ''Fertile Planet'' symbol for the ''Terraforming'' tech. I assume this should be the ''Colonize'' symbol.
2. The endgame condition might need revisiting: Being in front and then just amassing fighters to trigger the endgame condition could be abusive.
3. The Fighter / Goods / VP on one token somehow feels a bit awkward. I don't see a better solution though considering the end game trigger.


Brainstorming: Potential ideas to try:

1. Upgradable dice: The possibility to update your d6 to d8 with two additional sides from the role of your choice (i.e. the warfare die has a 3/8 chance of rolling the warfare symbol).
I understand that this would probably be a nightmare from a production perspective, but I like the idea.
2. A step equivalent to the ''Action Phase'' in EmDo: E.g. use one die showing warfare to get one fighter and immediately reroll it.
This would give a player more decisions and give an additional reroll mitigating the luck factor.

Rules Questions:

1. Game end: ''Finish the current round and then play one final round''. I assume a round is finished when every player had the same amount of turns. Meaning that if the Start Player triggers the end game during his turn in a 4 player game, there will be 7 more turns. Correct?
2. ''Attacking a planet when following does not require any Warfare symbols''. I find this counter-intuitive. Is there a specific reason for this? I would have expected that at least on symbol is required.

I have sent a PDF of my Fighter / Goods / VP tokens as well as a pic of my prototype components to Seth for posting here.

And before I forget – if you really read all this, you definitely want to kickstart the new EmDo expansion ;-)

Seth Jaffee said...

Thanks so much for these comments! I'll reply to some of them here:

1. The Tech Board contains the ''Fertile Planet'' symbol for the ''Terraforming'' tech. I assume this should be the ''Colonize'' symbol.
Yes, I managed to grab the wrong icon (also in the 7-cost tech). I didn't notice it until yesterday! Oops! Thanks for catching that!
2. The endgame condition might need revisiting: Being in front and then just amassing fighters to trigger the endgame condition could be abusive.
I had worried about that, but so far it hasn't been proving true.
3. The Fighter / Goods / VP on one token somehow feels a bit awkward. I don't see a better solution though considering the end game trigger.
I see what you mean, but I do like the minimal componentry.

Brainstorming: Potential ideas to try:

1. Upgradable dice: The possibility to update your d6 to d8 with two additional sides from the role of your choice (i.e. the warfare die has a 3/8 chance of rolling the warfare symbol).
I understand that this would probably be a nightmare from a production perspective, but I like the idea.

My original thought for the game was similar to this (not a d8, but specialized dice)... but I would prefer to use more production friendly components.
2. A step equivalent to the ''Action Phase'' in EmDo: E.g. use one die showing warfare to get one fighter and immediately reroll it.
This would give a player more decisions and give an additional reroll mitigating the luck factor.

This is a possible idea. i didn't want a strict port of EmDo necessarily. And this would add a lot of rules to define what each action really means. I haven't tried it yet, but maybe I should.

Rules Questions:

1. Game end: ''Finish the current round and then play one final round''. I assume a round is finished when every player had the same amount of turns. Meaning that if the Start Player triggers the end game during his turn in a 4 player game, there will be 7 more turns. Correct?

Correct!
2. ''Attacking a planet when following does not require any Warfare symbols''. I find this counter-intuitive. Is there a specific reason for this? I would have expected that at least on symbol is required.
It never requires a Warfare symbol to Attack. The Warfare role is either Collect 1 Fighter per Warfare symbol, or Pay Fighters to Attack a Planet. That's true in the card game as well. This is a clarification because people seem to have trouble with this concept.

Ashman said...

Two more comments after reading your reply:

1. The dice also have the wrong symbol for ''Colonize'' - in your version, the ones with from Steven are correct (the tech boards use the wrong symbol in both versions).

2. ''It never requires a Warfare symbol to attack ... in the card game as well''.

This answer shocked me at first, and I instantly went to re-read the rules. You are of course correct, but this is only relevant when the Warfare card stack is empty. You cannot attack when following in EmDo so you either have to use the Action of a Warfare card or choose the Warfare role and get a Warfare card. So - Tech cards aside - in 99% of all cases you do have a Warfare card / symbol available when attacking.
I can understand people not realizing this, I also didn't.

Seth Jaffee said...

I have uploaded corrected (and updated) files for the EmDice proto (https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4093/My%20Games/Eminent%20Domain/EmDice/EmDice%20Proto.pdf)

Seth Jaffee said...

A playtester sent me some pics of his prototype...

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4093/My%20Games/Eminent%20Domain/EmDice/emdiceplaytesting.zip

Pretty cool!

Doug Bruch said...

I accidentally played a slightly different rule. I was using the newest ruleset, but had Steven's slightly older tech board, which had outdated text for Streamlining. So I took the +1 Die icons to apply for both dissent and following. I realized my mistake before the next game, and played with the correct, current rule. I think I preferred getting the bonus die even when following.