Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Terra Prime updates for Eminent Domain Origins

IT's finally time! Last week I played a 2p game of Terra Prime to teach one of my playtesters, yesterday I started making tweaks to my copy of TP (the one with my prototype expansion in the box), and tomorrow I will play some more games with these changes to see how I like them, and identify what else ought to change for the re-implementation as Eminent Domain Origins.

I've started noting rules changes in the rulebook too. Here are the tweaks I've implemented so far (and will try tomorrow):

  • Add one "any module" slot to the command ship.
  • Add 1 "any resource" hold to the command ship.
  • Allow "Offload Colony Marker" at any time as a free action (describe this under "Load Colony Marker" and remove "Offload" as an action altogether)
  • Use expansion setup: space hexes face up from the outset, with face down Exploration tiles on top.
  • Set direction on tiles, so there's no possibility of illegal placements or configurations.
  • Re-examine distribution of hazards on exploration tiles (I haven't done this yet).
  • Clarify reward sequence (all simultaneous, so you CAN keep goods gotten as rewards for colonizing).
  • Change Weapon module cost (a simple $20 each. Or even just $10?)
  • Consider changing the Shield action (people have trouble with "Do one, the other, or both: Buy a shield module for $10, charge shields for $10"). Maybe recharging shields should be free?
  • Change Delivery Optimizer to "+1 LP when you complete a demand tile. At game end: 1vp per demand tile collected."
  • Start with energy on your built-in shield?
Players have suggested that they would like to be able to better customize their command ships, so I don't see any problem with adding 1 module slot that can hold any type of module. 

While I think I know why I did it, I feel it's annoying to have to buy a Cargo Hold in order to carry Yellium ("Silicon") at all, or to afford many of the upgrades. While that did keep some of the upgrades in the midgame, I will try giving players a 1-door cargo hold that holds anything in addition to the color-specific starting holds.

I've long regretted that offloading a colony marker was listed as an action,, required you to be at a colony, and gave a point to the opponent if it was their colony. I'm happy to cut that from the list of actions and just say that once loaded, you can offload a colony marker any time you want, without using an action. Thematically, the colony markers are equipped with low-power engines and autopilot to fly them back to Terra Prime, so if you find you don't need it, rather than jettisoning cryogenically frozen people into space, you can just send them back home.

I've never liked the complexity in the weapons costs. Each weapon you get is more useful than the last, so I made the costs escalate accordingly. However, that's more complicated than necessary, and basically means you'll never buy a 3rd weapon (you don't really need that many anyway)... there's no reason the cost shouldn't be more simple. I'm debating between making it a straight $10 and $20, not sure which way to go. Maybe just $10 would be fine, you could sort of use them as shields -- if you get hit without energy, you can lose weapons and get them back fairly easily for just $10 or 1 Brownium ("Crystal").

I'll see how these changes go tomorrow, and I'll look for more places to streamline the game.