Last night I met with Mike Watne, a big fan of EmDo who did a lot of playtesting of Escalation for me. At this point he's pretty much an unofficial member of the EmDo team. It was great to meet him and his wife Holli (sponsors of the Hostile planet Odonata, which you'll see when you get Escalation). Among other things, we discussed some ides for the upcoming and final EmDo expansion... the Political expansion. I don't have a name for it yet, but it would be amusing to choose a subtitle whose first letter is symmetric so it fits the scheme of ED:E and ED:X... maybe ED:B, ED:C, ED:D, ED:H, ED:I ED:K, or ED:O? This is really not a big deal, it's just something that comes to mind when I think about what to call the expansion...
The thrust of the final EmDo expansion is intended to be Politics. To an extent, this has been planned from the very beginning. I intend to have a new role stack (Politics role), filled with cards very similar to the Politics cards that already exist in the game. The only difference might be that they also have a Role box which says
Agendas are intended to be global effects that players will have some control over how, when, or whether they come into play. I was planning on doing some kind of voting mechanism based on following (you follow with symbols to cast your vote, or you dissent and effectively abstain from the vote). That still may be interesting, but I think there might be a smoother way to do it. In the conversation with Mike, this is what came up, and it's sounding pretty solid to me:
The Politics role could work just like the Survey role does in EmDice- pay 2/3/4/5 Politics symbols (leader bonus = +1 symbol) to put an Upcoming Agenda into play from the display, OR pay 2/3/4/5 Politics symbols to discard an Active Agenda from play. Agendas would come into play in the 5 slot, bumping older Agendas down to the next lowest slot, making the older Agendas easier to dispose of.
When following a Politics role, the leader would get to use your symbols, making it easier to afford higher valued Agendas - allowing players to work together to get an expensive Agenda either into play or out of play. In return for your support, you would get 1 Clout token for supporting the leader (whether they need/want your support or not). A Clout token has a Politics icon on one side, and a random icon on the other, and can be spent to boost or follow as either of those icons.
New tech cards can mess with Agendas, making them cheaper or more expensive to get into/out of play, translate icons to Politics (L1?) and Politics to other icons (L2?), and could let you draw Clout tokens - stuff like that.
I could add planets of each type with Politics icons on them (Political Planets?) (inc. Exotic, and an Asteroid). Maybe a bustling planet that lets you discard a Clout token to search for one of your choice, or just get one of your choice as an action, or discard 1 for 2 of your choice, or something. Maybe planets with Politics "translators" as well.
That sounds to me like a decent structure for the expansion. I think it would integrate very well with the game as it is, so players won't have to figure out how to play again, but the global effects could really shake things up and force players to play differently. Now I just have to design Agendas that shake things up and force players to play differently :)