I played a 4p game of Eminent Domain: Oblivion today. If you've only just happened upon this blog, or if you've been living under a rock or something, Oblivion is the 3rd expansion to my card game Eminent Domain. The first expansion, Escalation, has been out for just over a year, and the second one, Exotica, is going to hit store shelves in about 2 weeks. Oblivion will likely be the final expansion for the game.
I've posted quite a bit about this expansion over the several years I've been working on it, so I'll assume you have read that, or will go read it if you haven't and are interested (go ahead, I'll wait...)
Yesterday I finally got around to making more planets for the expansion, and while I'd discussed not including any tech in this set (I feel like there's kind of already too many techs, and too many points in the tech stacks), there are some fairly obvious types of effects that would make sense to have. So I decided to make a couple of Diverse techs (requiring Metallic, Fertile, and Advanced planets), and more importantly a small stack of Prestige tech. This is because I also decided to make most of the new planets Prestige types, the idea being that Prestige planets are all about the politics.
Originally I'd made 5 planets... 1 each of metallic, advanced, and fertile with a Politics icon, and 2 Prestige planets with a replenishing Clout token. I had talked about making more planets of the Bustling variety (ones that give you actions -- there were a handful of those in Escalation), and I decided to make them all Prestige planets. Since I make prototypes on 8.5x11 sheets of paper and can fit 9 cards on a sheet, I made 9 new planets... which seemed like a good number actually, since there are 9 of each planet type in the base game. So in Oblivion, if I remove one of the replenishing clout planets, there'll be 10 of each planet type total. That means there'll be enough to go around that I can make a Prestige tech stack without worrying too much about people not being able to access it. In fact, I should probably make that stack more robust, but if I don't make prestige starting planets then it's not as big a deal.
PLANETSAnyway, I made the following planets:
Advanced -- Politics icon, Silicon (3vp)
Fertile -- Politics icon, Food, Water (2vp)
Metallic -- Politics icon , Iron (3vp)
Prestige -- Replenishing Clout (2vp)
Prestige -- Action: Draw 2 Clout tokens (2vp)
Prestige -- Action: Recon the Agenda deck (4vp)
Prestige -- Action: Recon your deck (2vp)
Prestige -- Action: Swap 2 upcoming or Active Agendas (3vp)
Prestige -- Action: Dismiss up to 2 Upcoming Agendas (4vp)
Prestige -- Action: Discard a Clout token to collect 1vp (2vp)
Prestige -- Action: Annex a Planet (pay [POL] equal to its Annex cost) (3vp)
Prestige -- Action: Trade 1 Resource for 1vp and a Clout token (2vp)
Prestige -- Your planets gain Annex Cost: 6[POL] (3vp)
Having now played with these planets, I think some of them might need tweaks. The two 4vp planets' actions are pretty weak or narrow, but that's why I made them 4vp. I could potentially add resource slots to some of them, but historically, Prestige planet resource slots can hold "any resource", and that might interact too strongly with some of the Agendas (then again, maybe that's a good thing).
ANNEXING PLANETSI mentioned an Annex cost in the previous section. All of the new Prestige planets have an Annex cost listed on them (they're all Annex Cost: 4[POL]). There are a few effects which give you ACTION: Annex a planet (pay [POL] equal to its Annex cost). In addition, as an option when doing a Politics role, instead of activating or dismissing an Agenda, you may Annex a planet (which of course means flip it over by paying it's annex cost).
John suggested that the Politics cards could have "ACTION: Annex a planet" on them, but for one thing, the Politics cards already have an action printed on them, and for another I wouldn't want to have to reprint all the politics cards! Also, it might be too easy to flip the Prestige planets that way.
The Improved Political Influence tile (hmm, maybe I should just call that the "Politics tile" -- "Political Influence is a very long term!) now has All planets gain Annex Cost: 7[POL] instead of the extra vp for trading at least 3 different resources at a time.
I'm not sure those costs are perfect, they may need some tweaking. I settled on 7 for the Politics tile because Improved Politics also gives you a Politics icon, so you really only need 6 other ones, and that's on par with one of the more expensive Agenda costs (and so shouldn't be impossible). It might be too high though, and I could see bringing that down to 6. 5 seems awfully low, though it's still higher than the standard Annex cost of 4 printed on the Prestige planets.
TECHNOLOGYAs I mentioned, I made just a couple of Diverse tech cards:
Diverse Lobbyist (Diverse perm L1): [POL] (a permanent politics icon)
Diverse Clout (Diverse perm L1): Whenever you draw Clout tokens, draw 1 more and then discard a Clout token.
Filibuster (Diverse perm L1): When dissenting a role, draw 1 clout token.
Party Whip (Diverse perm L1): When another player follows your role, draw 1 clout token.
And I made one of each Advanced, Fertile, and Metallic tech:
Farming Subsidy (Fertile perm L1): ACTION: Discard any number of Clout tokens. produce 2 resource for each clout discarded this way.
Grassroots Movement (Fertile perm L1): Your [COL] icons can be used as [POL].
Free Trade Agreement (Advanced perm L1): Once per turn: You may discard a Clout token to collect 1vp.
Scientific Community (Advanced perm L1): Your [RES] icons can be used as [POL].
Political Climate (Metallic perm L1): ACTION: Recon the Planet deck for a Prestige planet.
Police State (Metallic perm L1): You may attack planets by paying [F] equal to the Annex cost.
And of course, a handful of Prestige tech:
Political Annexation (Prestige L1):ACTION: Annex a planet (pay [POL] equal to it's Annex cost).
Campaign Trail (Prestige L1): ACTION: Target planet gains Annex cost: 4[POL] until end of turn.
Targeted Lobbying (Prestige L1):ACTION: Recon the Clout tokens for any one token and take it.
Call in a Favor (Prestige L1): ACTION: Trade up to 3 Clout tokens for 1vp each.
Wheel & Deal (Prestige L1): ACTION: Trade a resource for a Clout token and another different resource (doesn't need a slot).
Executive Order (Prestige L2): ACTION: Activate the rightmost Upcoming Agenda, or Dismiss the rightmost Active Agenda. (2vp)
Prestige Clout (Prestige perm L2): Whenever you draw Clout tokens, draw 1 more and then discard a Clout token. (2vp)
Prestige Lobbyist (Prestige perm L2): [POL] (2vp)
Many of these techs are permanent because I have a few Agendas that refer to permanent techs, and I thought it would be interesting to have several in the game even when not playing with Escalation or Exotica. I feel like some might be too strong at L1, but who knows. I'm not sure if I want to keep the Diverse tech or not, I could just delete Diverse Lobbyist and Diverse Clout and make Party Whip and Filibuster into Prestige techs. Then I wouldn't have to explain Diverse Tech in the Oblivion rulebook for just 2 cards.
I currently just have a [POL] icon on each of the Prestige tech (2 icons on the L2 tech). I suppose I could make sure there are at least 6 L1 prestige techs, and put a role symbol on each (in addition to the [POL] icon).
AGENDASThe current Agendas look like this:
* When activated or removed: Recon the Agenda deck for any 1 Agenda and put it into the center active slot.
* Return any one Upcoming Agenda to the bottom of the deck, then Recon the Agenda deck for any 1 Agenda.
* Attacking a planet requires 2 more [F]. When activated: Settle a planet.
* Attacking requires 2 fewer [F]. When activated: collect 2 [F].
* After your turn, if you have at least 1 Adv, Fert, & Met planet in play (face up), collect 1vp.
* After your turn, if you have the most Advanced planets in play (face up), collect 1vp.
* After your turn, if you have the most Fertile planets in play (face up), collect 1vp.
* After your turn, if you have the most Metallic planets in play (face up), collect 1vp.
* After your turn, if you have the most permanent techs in play, collect 1vp.
* Collect 1vp each time you play a L1 tech card for its action. When activated: Take an L1 tech.
* Colonize costs are increased by 2. When activated, Attack a planet.
* Colonize costs are decreased by 1. When activated, Settle a planet.
* Research costs are increased by 2. When activated: Take an L1 tech (ignore pre-reqs).
* Research costs are decreased by 1. When activated: You may spend [RES] to buy a tech card.
* Agenda Activation costs are increased by 1. When activated: Remove 1 Active Agenda from play.
* Agenda Activation costs are decreased by 1. When activated: Return an Upcoming Agenda to the bottom of the deck.
* +2 Produce symbols per Produce role. When activated: Produce any 2 resources (no slot required).
* -2 Produce symbols per Produce role. When activated: Produce any 2 resources (no slot required).
* +2 Survey symbols per Survey role. When activated: Take the top Planet card (face down).
* -2 Survey symbols per Survey role. You may keep 1 additional Planet per Survey role.
* Hand size +1 for each permanent tech in your empire. When activated: Draw 3 cards & play another action.
* Hand size +-1 for each permanent tech in your empire. When activated: Draw 5 cards & ignore hand limit this turn.
* Annex costs are increased by 2. When activated, Improve Politics tile.
* Annex costs are decreased by 2. When activated, All other players downgrade Politics tile.
* Tech cards may not be played as actions. When activated: Take an L1 tech.
* You may trade Clout tokens as if they were resources. When activated: Draw 2 Clout tokens.
* [POL] icons can be used as [WAR] or [PRO] icons.
* [POL] icons can be used as [WAR] or [TRA] icons.
* [POL] icons can be used as [SUR] or [PRO] icons.
* [POL] icons can be used as [SUR] or [TRA] icons.
* Choose a resource type. +1vp when trading if you trade at least 1 resource of that type.
* Choose a resource type. ACTION: Discard that resource to collect 1vp + any other resource.
* Choose a resource type. ACTION: Discard that resource + Water to collect 3vp and a Clout token.
* Choose a resource type. ACTION: Discard that resource + Food to collect 3vp and a Clout token.
* Choose a resource type. ACTION: Discard that resource + Iron to collect 3vp and a Clout token.
* Choose a resource type. ACTION: Discard that resource + Silicon to collect 3vp and a Clout token.
I think I need to test more, but most of these seem alright. I'm not sure what a good Agenda deck size would be. I used to want the deck to be small enough that if an early Agenda got dismissed, there would be a chance to see it again later, but I think that's unlikely to matter in practice so I think I'll stop worrying about that.
ALTERNATE VICTORY CARDI still need to come up with an Alternate Victory card for this set: Political Victory being an obvious title, but I'm not sure what to make it. All of the alternate victory cards so far have been double sided, so I might need something to go on the back. I think I had an idea for "Traditional Victory: Nobody can with with an Alternate Victory card." or something like that.
But there was also the idea that the Alternate Victory card be an Agenda, one that's always available and has a high Activation cost. Maybe that would be too easy to achieve... but maybe Traditional Victory could be such an Agenda, which means you couldn't win by an alternate victory while it's in play, but could be dismissed (for a high cost). Also, that way players wouldn't be afraid to follow your Politics role for fear of an instant win!
So what should Political Victory do? It could be a planet that's always available, need not be surveyed, cannot be attacked or settled, and can only be Annexed (with a high Annex cost), but that has a similar problem as an instant win agenda.
It would be neat if you didn't have to use the Research role to access it. The obvious thing would be to tie it to the Politics role somehow. Maybe have it cost some number of Clout tokens? Except you can just draw 1 for an action every turn and then win... Hmm. I'll have to give it some more thought. If you have any ideas, leave them in the comments!