Rage-design: A Less Shitty Version of Impulse


#21

I think the wooden bits are identical, but the games are totally different. In Navegador you gain prestige by trading goods throughout Africa and parts of Europe, while in Concordia you gain prestige by trading goods throughout Europe and parts of Africa.


#22

Rococo uses a similar mechanic as Concordia where you’re drafting cards for your hand that are the actions you can take.


#23

I mean sure, I definitely have a particular approach to my Chudyk, and that preference is certainly part of my frustration.

I generally (try) stay adaptable in the early to early-mid game until I put a clear path together, and then at some point I put the pedal to the metal and go fast in a straight line until the game is over. I would agree that adaptability is key, but I don’t know that you always need to maintain that adaptability. Sometimes you see a path and shoot for it, y’know?

These two points really have me thinking:

So, I think I get where you’re going here, and I think I agree, but I want to talk a nuts-and-bolts specific to make sure I’ve got the gist of it.

Analysis

Let’s look at Refine and Command.

Refine

There are 6 Refine cards: 4 at Tier 1 and 2 at Tier 3.

All Tier 1 Refine cards are essentially the same. “Refine one [B/G/R/Y] card for 1^ point per gem.” Each of the 4 cards has a different single applicable color.

The two Tier 3 Refine powers are “Refine 1^ card for one point per gem” and “Refine one card for 2^ points.” The Tier 3 powers actually seem to sorta suck ass compared to the Tier 1 powers, but I’ll leave that alone for now.

The Tier 1 power could be properly expressed as “Pick a color. Refine one card of that color for a variable number of points.” Only, instead of that broad power, you have 4 cards with very specific flavors of that power, which means any given Refine card is pretty inflexible. This principle is conserved across all the various action cards, so you wind up with a hand that is inflexible and irritatingly specific.

This is a departure from other Chudyks that I prefer; there, the action you can take is always the same, and the card has another power that varies. In Impulse the action you can take is the power of the card, which means your options are directly dictated by the card you’re holding in a very limiting way. Instead of 10 broad actions, there are like 100 different specific action implementations.

We could simply have 4 copies of a card that say “Refine one card of one color for 1^ point per gem.” Pick the appropriate color for you and go. That screws with the rest of the power balance though, but I’ll come back to that.

Command

There are 27 Command cards, so maybe I’ll get a better shot at elucidating the difference between tiers here.

Tier 1 powers (11 cards):
-one Transport for 1^ move (x3)
-one Cruiser for 1^ move (x5)
-a 1^ Transport fleet for one move (x3)

Tier 2 powers (10 cards)
-a 1^ Transport fleet for two moves (x1)
-a two Transport fleet for 1^ moves (x1)
-a 2^ Cruiser fleet for one move (x1)
-a two Cruiser fleet for 1^ move (x1)
-a 1^ ship fleet for one move (x4)
-1^ fleet for one move apiece (must land on same card) (x2)

Tier 3 powers (6 cards)
-2^ fleets for one move apiece (must land on same card) (x2)
-a two ship fleet for 1^ move (x2)
-a 1^ ship fleet for two moves (x2)

The numerical variables that change are:
-number of fleets (move more fleets)
-number of ships in fleet (move bigger fleets)
-number of moves (move fleets farther)

And there is either a type restriction or not (“Cruiser/Transport” versus “ship”).

Here’s an illustrative progression of 3 cards through the Tiers:
-a 1^ Transport fleet for one move
-a 1^ Transport fleet for two moves
-a 1^ ship fleet for two moves

In all cases, incrementing any number on the card by 1 is +1 Tier (i.e. changing “one move” to “two moves” or changing “1^ fleets” to “2^ fleets”). “A fleet” to “1^ fleets” is also a number increment, but is somewhat more powerful because it also removes the size variable of the fleet - that’s probably somewhat balanced by having them land on the same card.

In all cases, removing a type restriction (going from “Transport/Cruiser” to “ship”) gives +1 Tier.

It appears that any one numerical variable on the card is boostable at a time, and they’re all equal in terms of power level. Any increment of any number by 1 is +1 Tier, and removing a type restriction is +1 Tier.

I could, therefore, express the Tiers of Command like this:

Tier 1
"Move a 1^ ship fleet for 1^ moves"

Tier 2
"Move 1^ fleets OR a 1^ ship fleet for 1^ moves. Boost one of these numbers by 1."

Tier 3
"Move 1^ fleets OR a 1^ ship fleet for 1^ moves. Boost two of these numbers by 1 each."

For all of these, only one of the “1^” can be boosted by gems/Transports.

That would systematically express every card in Command with 3 sets of language.

I could probably express Tier 1 in the exact same language as the other two (“1^ Fleets OR a fleet of 1^ ships”), and then the difference becomes simple increments.

Tier 2 allows you to increment any one number by 1.

Tier 3 allows you to increment two numbers by 1 each.


The differences between the Tiers of every action are probably not identical across different actions, but there definitely appears to be some simple incrementation happening here. The actions have core meanings, and the existing cards are just very specific wording implementations of that core principle.

Going to a genericized version of each allows each card to be flexible and actually useful.

In this way, rather than reduce the number of cards between you and the action you need, we could instead changes the actions in your hand to flexibly fit your situation. This is what the game is inherently doing anyway, but they do it in a stupid and limiting way.

Does that sound like I’m picking up what you’re putting down?


My logic chain wants to go a step further. For each Tier, you could have one boostable number per Tier. So a Tier 1 card can boost one number, a Tier 2 card can boost two numbers, and a Tier 3 can boost three. This won’t work for everything, but some cards will basically eat an increment by becoming more powerful (we’ll see that in Draw, for example).

Distribute all total boost as you see fit among boostable numbers on a card.


#24

Yes. Exactly. FIFTEEN


#25

This might be a way to completely solve a major issue with even touching card balance or number of options.

My concern then becomes an excessively generic game (when all the cards of any type are the same and universally applicable, then I have no incentive to compete over them) but this is solvable in other ways that don’t involve annoying limitations on actions.

So yeah, I’ll look at changing actions to a genericized adaptable model, rather than removing cards to get to something useful.

As an example, here’s how I’d render Refine:

Tier 1:
“Refine one card from one color for 1^ point per gem.”

Tier 2:
“Refine 1^ cards from one color for 1^ point per gem.” (There are no T2 Refines, but it shows my progression).

Tier 3:
“Refine 1^ cards from among 1^ colors for 1^ points per gem.”

Distribute total boost as you see fit among boostable numbers. +1 for Tier 2, +2 for Tier 3.

This has promise.


#26

Here’s a game that scratches the “simplified” space 4X itch:

I got to play this in Portland not too long ago. I liked it so much I backed it on Kickstarter. It goes the “Handful of cards-as-rondel” route, but you can recruit slightly different cards as you play them.


#27

This is a good core.

What I’m aiming for is something with that Chudyk-esque “every card has multiple uses” thing that I like so much, so I’d take it a step further and use cards as both money and meeples.

That conflicts with my bit-fiddling desire, but if I want to fiddle lots of bits I’ll just play Eclipse. For a card-based game, using cards as other game components feels pretty central.

I’m starting to think about a rondel made of cards. Players get an initial hand and build the rondel by each picking a card from their hand. Maybe in subsequent turns you can modify the rondel by replacing a card in it?


#28

If you want to use the cards for everything, why not use them for SHIPS also?

Imagine a sci-fi universe where space ships are so ridiculous enormous. Death Star++. However, it takes the resources of an entire planet to construct one. You lay out planets, conquer them, and then you flip them over and they become ships and start moving around. Whoah!


#29

Dyson spheres for everyone!

Your ships wage war by shooting giant fucking lasers across galaxies.

You could have a Giant Fucking Laser template for funsies. Everything in the path gets hit.


#30

More Analysis

Trade

Trade is an action I identified for elimination in my first scheme. Let’s see how it looks when it’s standardized.

T1
-1^ [B/G/Y/R] from your hand (x8)

T2
-two size 1^ from your hand (x1)
-1^ size three from your hand (x1)

T3
-1^ size one from the deck (x1)

Hmmmm. We have number and size variation, but size variation is really a limitation. So color restriction and size restriction. Number increment seems to add +1 Tier.

So T1 is 1 card (let’s say +1 Tier), -1 because of color, +1 because of loss of size restriction. T2 2 cards (+2 Tier), +1 because of loss of color, -1 because of addition of size restriction. The other one is 1 essentially a removal of the color restriction from T1, so +1 Tier.

T3 is the same number as T1 (1), with no color restriction (+1), a size restriction (-1), and a draw from the deck instead of the hand. The value there is hard as balls to calculate, but it’s basically points that don’t cost you anything to gain. No opportunity lost or anything, so I can see how that’s a T3 card. You get 50% of the boosted value in added points.

Some quick math and assumptions:
-10 cards in perfect distribution (2.5 of each color, 5 T1, 3 T2, 2 T3)
-assume boost of 2 from gems/transports outside (which will let us sell all 1 - 3 cards of a single color using T1)

T1 lets you turn 2.5 cards in your hand into points, at a minimum of 1 per card and a max of 3. Your 2.5 cards have a 52% chance of being worth 1, a 30% chance of being worth 2, and an 18% chance of being worth 3. That means each card is 1.66 points on average, and 2.5 of those is 4.15 points. Pretty goddamn good T1 card.

T2 removes color, so we only care about size. The first option is two size 1^, and with our boost of 2, that’s already the max of 6 points. The other T2 just lets us sell more T3 cards, so we’re still at 6. T2, under my assumption, is 50% more valuable than T1.

T3 removes color, drops the value to 1, but has you take from the deck. Assuming again my boost of 2, you’re looking at an average of 1.5 points for that T3 card - but it leaves cards in your hand. I don’t know how many points that’s worth.

Here’s how I might render these in the previous scheme.

T1:
-Pick a color. Trade 1^ of that color from your hand.

T2: (+1 free boost)
-Trade 1^ size 1^ from your hand.

T3: (+2 free boost)
-Trade 1^ size one from the deck

If I instead render that T3 as “1^ size 1^ from the deck,” using my previous set of assumptions, I’ll have a card with +4 boost, which is 3 size 3 cards from the deck. Each card is again worth an average of 1.66 points, so that is on average 4.98 points (“From the deck” meaning we draw 3 cards and keep those up to size 3) - smack in between T1 and T2 in terms of points generation ability, but coming from the deck and not the hand.

I could tentatively be convinced to do the systematic T3 as “Trade 1^ size 1^ from the deck” with an inherent +2 boost.

Draw

T1:
-one from the deck, then 1^ [choice of two colors] (x6)

T2:
-3^ size one (x2)

T3:
-2^ from the deck (x1)

Hm. Let’s assume the basic action is “draw a card.” The T1 is then a color restriction (-1 T) and an extra increment (+1 T).

T2 is one card, +2 increments, -1 because of size restriction.

T3 is one card, +1 increment, +1 no restriction at all.

Some math:

Tier 1 nets you 1 card and a 50% shot at another - so 1.5 cards.

Tier 2 also nets you 1.5 cards (3 cards at 50% chance of being T1)

T1 and T2 are actually virtually mathematically identical at any level of boost. Assume +20 boost (12 transports for +6 and 28 gems for +14), and you get to draw 21 versus 23 cards and keep half of them - except, of course, you can’t do that, but still. Maximum possible boost is +28 (45 gems and 12 transports), bringing you to the difference between drawing 29 or 31 cards. A whopping 10% difference.

Tier 3 straight gets you 2 cards.

T2 could really use some love. Let’s see what they seem in this hypothetical revamp.

T1:
-“Pick two colors. Draw one from the deck, and then 1^ of those two colors.”

T2 (+1 boost):
-2^ size 1^

T3 (+2 boost):
-1^ from the deck

Seems reasonable.


#31

Having stared at these 4 actions, I think I’m getting the hang of most of the scaling. It’s not always neat and clean, but it’s mostly so, and I can work with mostly.

I have noticed that some cards change tier by being boosted numerically, and others by being “boosted” in function. It’s hard to deal with those “function boosted” things systematically. I’m contemplating something like “spend 1 boost to gain this function,” but that’s weird and I’d rather not go there if I don’t have to. For now I’m harmonizing and focusing on inherent boost, which oughta make up for function loss.

Some of these have just utterly inexplicable powers. Thanks, Chudyk. I’m mostly ignoring your bullshit.

I’ll skip most of the super-detailed analysis for the rest of these, as I think you’ll figure out my thought process by looking.

Research

Starting:

T1
-one size 1^ from hand (x3)
-1^ from your Plan (x1)

T2
-1^ [color] from hand (x4)

T3
-two size 1^ from deck (x2)
-one size 1^ from hand, then Execute it (x1)

^^^^^^^See what I mean? Fuck you, Chudyk.

Anyhow.

Revised

T1 (x4)
-one size 1^ from hand or Plan

T2 (x4)
-Pick a color. 1^ of color from hand or Plan.

T3 (x3)
-1^ size 1^ from deck, hand, or Plan.

(Maybe later, “spend 2 boost to Execute it after,” but again, super fuck that noise.)

Build

Starting

T1
-1^ Cruiser at home (x3)
-1^ Transport at home (x2)

T2
-1^ Transport at a sector you occupy (x1)
-1^ Cruiser at occupy (x1)
-1^ at home and each other [color] you occupy (x4)

T3
-2^ ships at occupy (x1)

Revised

T1: Choose a ship type. Build 1^ at home.

T2: Choose a color. Build 1^ ship at home and at 1^ other sector of that color you occupy.

T3: Build 1^ ship at 1^ location you occupy.

T3 seems a bit nutso, but there’s only one, and it’s Chudyk.

Mine

Starting

T1
-1^ [color] from hand
-one size 1^ from deck

T2
-one size 1^ hand
-1^ size two deck
-two size 1^ deck

T3
-1^ size two hand
-two size 1^ hand

Revised

T1: Pick a color. 1^ of color from hand

T2: 1^ size 1^ from deck

T3: 1^ size 1^ from hand or deck

Plan

Starting

T1
-2^ [color] from hand (x4)

T2
-two size 1^ from deck (x1)
-2^ size one from hand (x1)
-2^ of different color from hand (x1)

T3
-one from the deck, then 2^ of its color from the deck

Revised

T1: Pick a color. Plan 2^ of color from hand.

T2: Plan 2^ cards of 1^ different colors from hand.

T3: Plan 1^ from the deck, then Plan 1^ from the deck that match those colors

That was a weird one to be sure, but I think it works.

Execute

Starting

-all Executes have “OR Execute one of your Techs” as a second option

T1
-one size 1^ from deck (x3)

T2
-one size 1^ from hand (x1)

T3
-one size 2^ from hand (x2)

Revised

T1
-no change

T2
-no change

T3
-1^ size 1^ from hand

This is probably way broken and OP, but once again - Chudyk. It struck me as odd that both T2 and T3 were so close. So little boostable.

Sabotage

I don’t like this action, but in staring at the cards, I found a way to reduce their power that I think I like.

Starting

T1
-one Cruiser fleet with 2^ bombs
-one Transport fleer with 2^ bombs
-one fleet with 1^ bombs

T2
-one [Cruiser/Transport fleet] with 3^ bombs

T3
-one fleet with 2^ bombs

Revised

T1: Sabotage a ship with 1^ bombs

T2: Sabotage a 1^ ship fleet with 1^ bombs

T3: Sabotage 1^ fleets of 1^ ships with 1^ bombs

The “fleet size” thing in T2/T3 is intended to be a limiter on the fleets you can target. You want to bomb a bigass fleet, you gotta pay for it.


#32

At this point, you just have to playtest. Otherwise you’re inventing a philosophy, not a game.


#33

Yuuuuuuup. Gotta find some willing suckers to give it a whirl. I can logic my way through this all day, but rubber needs to meet road.

I’ll focus on the revamped mode first, because I like that idea more than my “strip out cards” idea.


#34

OK, for those playing along at home, here are the condensed versions of my two current ideas. If you feel like playtesting a possibly shitass game, please do so and tell us how it went! I’ll be poking around at putting together a local playtest group after the new year.

Version 1: Standardized Actions (Alpha 0.1)

Player count: 2 - 4
Deck: 108 (27 each color, 14@S1, 8@S2, 5@S3 per color; 27 of each color)

Ignore all action text on cards. Instead, all action cards have a fixed power depending on action type and size (1, 2, or 3 gems).

Actions may be boosted; this is indicated by a “^” next to a numeral in the action text.

Size 2 cards have +1 boost for free; Size 3 cards have +2 boost for free.

Multiple numbers may be boostable in each action; in this case, distribute your total boost as you see fit among any boostable numbers in an action.

No other aspects of the game are changed.

Actions are as follows:

Command (note: if multiple fleets are moved, all must end on the same card)
1 - Command a 1^ ship fleet for one move.
2 - Command a 1^ ship fleet for 1^ moves.
3 - Command 1^ fleets of 1^ ships for 1^ moves each.

Refine
1 - Refine one card from one color for 1^ point per gem.
3 - Refine 1^ cards from among 1^ colors for 1^ points per gem.

Trade
1 - Trade 1^ of one color from your hand.
2 - Trade 1^ size 1^ from your hand.
3 - Trade 1^ size 1^ from the deck

Draw
1 - Choose two colors. Draw one from the deck, and then 1^ of those two colors.
2 - Draw 2^ size 1^ from the deck.
3 - Draw 1^ from the deck.

Research
1 - Research one size 1^ from your hand or Plan.
2 - Research 1^ of one color from your hand or Plan.
3 - Research 1^ size 1^ from the deck, your hand, or your Plan.

Build
1 - Choose a ship type. Build 1^ at home.
2 - Build 1^ ship at home and at 1^ other location of one color that you occupy.
3 - Build 1^ ship at 1^ location you occupy.

Mine
1 - Mine 1^ of one color from your hand.
2 - Mine 1^ size 1^ from the deck
3 - Mine 1^ size 1^ from your hand or the deck

Plan
1 - Plan 2^ of one color from your hand.
2 - Plan 2^ cards of 1^ different colors from your hand.
3 - Plan 1^ card from the deck, then Plan 1^cards from the deck that match those colors.

Execute
1 - Execute one size 1^ from the deck.
2 - Execute one size 1^ from your hand.
3 - Execte 1^ size 1^ from your hand.

Sabotage
1 - Sabotage a ship with 1^ bombs.
2 - Sabotage a 1^ ship fleet with 1^ bombs.
3 - Sabotage 1^ fleets of 1^ ships with 1^ bombs.

Version 2: Action Removal

Player Count: 2 - 4
Deck Size: 80 (10@S1, 6@S2, 4@S3 per color; 20 of each color)

Remove the following action cards from the deck:
-all Execute, Sabotage, and Trade cards
-8 specific cards as indicated in the photo upthread (7 Command: two S1 Y, two S2 Y, two S3 Y, two S2 G; and 1 Mine: S2 R)

Add the following cards to the deck:
-three B Trade cards: two S1 and one S3. Treat the two B S1 cards as S1 Refine, and the S3 B card as a copy of the S3 Plan card.

Modify the following cards:
-each of the six S1 Refine cards (the four normal Refine and the two you added above) now allows you to pick from among two colors instead of one.

To the existing [R/B/G/Y] Refine cards, add [/B/G/Y/R] respectively (hence you will have R/B, B/G, G/Y, and Y/R).

For the two added B S1 cards, make one B/Y and the other R/G. They retain their color, leaving you with three 3 G S1 and 3 B S1 Refine.

-the added B S3 is a direct copy of the G S3 Plan in all text. It retains its own color.

Play the game exactly as you would otherwise.


#35

Self-Playtest Report: Variant 1

Session 1

Note to self: make sure to document starting state of future playtest sessions. Turn-by-turn documentation would be best, but would also be sort of incredibly nightmarish. Still probably worthwhile.

Also note to self: print a new deck for variant 1. Printable business cards would probably be fine. Translating existing deck to standardized actions was a massive PITA.

Players: 2 (purple and green)
Final score: Purple 20, green 15
Turns taken: 5 each
General strategies: Purple: Mine/Refine; Green: Build/Command

Initial Board Placement
Green: T2 B Build
Purple: T1 B Refine

Notes:

  • Each color had essentially identical 1st turns: use starting Tech to discard a card to Command the 2-Transport starting fleet to the next adjacent card, then place and activate an awesome card from their hand. Green placed a 2G Command, and then jumped back to activate its 2B Build with the same fleet. Purple placed a 2R Mine and wound up with 3 G gems.

  • Build as-worded might be too much. Current wording is multiplicative (build x ships at home and at x locations of one color that you occupy). Green activated its 2B Build action twice and wound up building 4 ships each time - Green had its entire armada completed at the top of its 2nd turn. Need to test more to confirm.

  • Starting Tech is a comparatively powerful Command action, but the 1-card discard actually appears to be a meaningful cost. With expansion via gems, you outstrip its usefulness.

  • Totally forgot that when you activate a card with Transports, any Transports already on the card also count as gems. Green would’ve probably fared significantly better had I remembered this, as I would’ve wound up able to mobilize that large fleet.

  • Refine is very strong. Purple pulled off a 12-point Refine on their turn 3, after mining their way to 6 G gems (one each of T1, T2, and T3). A single T1 Refine, boosted by 3, allowed me to sell off a single T3 for 4 points per gem. Very strong.

  • Green very nearly won by annihilating purple’s entire fleet. On turn 5, green activated a series of strong Commands that mobilized Cruisers across the map. The very last series of combat involved two separate one-on-one Cruiser fights which came down entirely to deck draw.

  • However, I also noted that I had made a strategic error in green’s previous turn by discarding a card whose color would’ve been a reinforcement in the next turn. Definitely need to pay attention to every possible use of cards that you’re discarding and choose very carefully.

  • The game is really fast. Maybe too fast. More testing needed to determine that.

  • Decision tree is still complicated, and is compounded because 10 actions spanning 4 colors means that my color-coded Chudyk instincts are actually wrong. “Wait, dammit, that’s a B Command, and I’m all set for Y.” That sort of thing.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the game felt more controlled than the base game. Chaos is still present very strongly in the outcome of your decisions, but your ability to decide is significantly more in your control. You can actually execute a small engine and run it at full speed until you end, while also adapting to changes. You are still at the mercy of the cards, but that’s a Chudyk thing, and you can decide how best to use each card.

Green probably should’ve won, because I forgot a rule that would’ve allowed my ludicrously powerful Build cycle to become fully realized. Subsequent replays will help confirm this.

EDIT: Nope, I was wrong about being wrong. You ignore existing Transports on a card when moving a fleet for activation. Totally did it correctly!


#36

What I did for my game design work was mock up the cards in illustrator, export to PDF (merged layers), print at a shop on cheap cardstock, and use a paper cutter to cut up the cards. Worked great, and was fairly cheap (IIRC around $10/per). I still have a bunch of mockups floating around.

If you’re not at that point yet, use index cards and marker. Just scribble changes and thoughts on the cards as they come up.


#37

Did that two days ago. Color laser printer at work handles cardstock like a champ. They’re a little small for this go-around (business card sized) but I’m not at a point where I care about that yet.

If/when I get something I like, I’ma grab that print-and-play redesign, and edit the PDF’s with whatever text I decide on.


#38

Playtest Report: Variant 1

Session 2

New deck was an absolute necessity. Still failed to document starting state. Oh well.

Players: 3 (thanks @GeorgePatches and @no_fun_girl)
Final Score: Blue: 20+, White: 15, Green: 13

Turns Taken: 5 each I think
General Strategies: Mine/Refine seemed to be the most efficient way to get points. 15 of Blue’s points came from Refining.

Observations and Notes:

-I had a suspicion that was confirmed: the game is super boring when you can simply take all of your available actions. It appears that the lack of control and strongly-dictated extremely-limited cards were necessary to keep it interesting. Take that away, and the game is very mechanical.

-You do too many things on your turn, which may well contribute to the boring-ness. When you can spam the game with actions, none of them particularly matter or are particularly interesting.

-The whole “inherent boost” thing is clunky and confusing. Ditch it, and instead just write inherently boosted actions.

-Lots of complicated choices still. Rules explanation needs to be more thorough and “chunked” in a way that relates strongly to the game.

-Draw power is annoyingly limited because of the general mechanism of “draw X cards and keep all of them that match Y criteria.” If you take an action, you should get to do as much of that action as you generated.

-Covering up basic techs is kinda lame. They’re weaker but universally useful, so why get rid of them?

-There is little if any incentive to take and hold territory on the board. Again, limiting actions may change this, but it’s worth noting that in an ostensibly 4X game, there is no reason to physically expand your empire.

-That whole “only the Transports that moved onto a card count for boosting it” thing is slightly confusing and ehhhhhhhhhhhhh. Maybe make it so that “seeding” with Transports is possible. That’s low on the priority list.

Revision Ideas

  1. First and foremost, the Impulse must be limited.
    Current idea:

Step 1: Add 1 card to the Impulse
Step 2: Use 1 Tech if you wish.
Step 3: Take one Impulse action of your choosing, or two of your choosing if you did not use a Tech.

This will reduce the sheer quantity of fuckery that is possible every turn, and it will give players a better chance to respond with force to a player moving to run away with the game.

  1. Drop the inherent boost thing, and rewrite Size 2 and Size 3 cards to incorporate that boost.

Additionally, I’m contemplating dropping back to one boostable number per card. That idea was there originally to allow maximum flexibility in how a card manifested, but now I think there’s too much flexibility. Still too many decisions, so take away some needless complexity while making things useful.

May re-implement small variations for Command since it’s such a heavily-represented action.

  1. Drawing cards could stand to change a bit.

I might say “Draw from the deck until you have X cards matching Y criteria.” Maybe make Size 3 crazy-go-nuts, like “Look through the discard people and keep X cards of your choosing; shuffle discards into deck after.” Dunno, just spitballing.

It may be worth revisiting other “from the deck” actions to have them function like this as well. Will likely have to limit the power of that somehow.

  1. Basic Techs are always there.

Instead, give some number of Research slots that allow you to use other Techs too. One? Two? Who knows? You can still cover up Basic Techs if you want, but they should always be worse than a Size 1 of the action they represent.

Also, it’s total bullshit that 3 of the races have Command or Build as their “unique” Basic Tech. Literally everybody already has a Command/Build Basic Tech anyway, so the other Basic Tech should be something else. It’d be a simple matter to bash up 8 Command Centers where the other starting Basic Tech is some variation on one of the 8 actions besides Build and Command.

  1. Later, figure out how to make territory desirable.

This might be something like “At the end of your turn, you score 1 point for every two Sectors you Occupy” or something similar. That would give you 6 points per turn at most - the same as if you patrolled all 6 Sector Core gates - and would also mean that you’d have one Transport on each of 12 sectors, which is fucking stupid as hell why would you do that?

This will come after other fixes, but is the next direction I’m considering.


#39

Having a reasonable handle on what’s going on, I’m relaxing my incrementalist nature a bit and incorporating a handful of changes to create the next iteration.

Standardized Actions (Alpha 0.2)

Changelog:

  • The Impulse has been modified. Steps 1 - 3 of your turn are now:
    “You may, in any order:
    -use one of your Techs OR one action in the Impulse
    -play a card from your hand to the Impulse and then use one action in the Impulse
    You may not use an Impulse action more than once in your turn.”

This means that you can take up to two actions from the Impulse in a turn, if you forego using a Tech and add a card to the Impulse. I’ve also made it optional, because “leading” an action in any other Chudyk game is optional and I want to see how that shakes out.

  • Remove inherent boost on cards, and returned to one boostable number per card. I made changes to account for the loss of inherent boost, essentially making each card inherently better/more ridiculous as you climb the tiers. Actions have been rewritten as follows:

-All Size 1 actions except Refine are unchanged

Refine
-S1: “refine one mineral for 2^ points”
-S3: “refine one mineral for 1^ point per gem”

Command (there are now two versions each of S2 and S3)
-S2: “Command one fleet for 1^ moves” / “Command two fleets of 1^ ships for one move each”
-S3: “Command two fleets for 1^ moves each” / “Command 1^ fleet for one move each”

Execute (all include “OR Execute one Tech”)
-S3: “Execute 1^ of one color from your hand or the deck”

Sabotage
-S2: “Sabotage a fleet with 1^ bomb”
-S3: “Sabotage any one fleet on the map with 1^ bomb regardless of adjacency”

Mine
-S2: “Mine one size 1^ from the deck”
-S3: “Mine two size 1^ from your hand or the deck”

Research
-S3: “Research two size 1^ from the deck, your hand, or your Plan”

Trade
-S2: “Trade 1^ size one from your hand”
-S3: “Trade 1^ size one from the deck”

Draw
-S2: “Draw two size 1^ from the deck”
-S3: “Draw 1^ of your choice from the discard pile. Reshuffle the discards into the deck afterwards.” (this had to change a bunch because of changes to drawing and other “from the deck” actions detailed below)

Build
-S2: “Build a 1^ ship fleet at home and at each location you occupy that matches its color.”
-S3: “Build a 1^ ship fleet at each location you occupy or patrol.”

Plan
-S2 “Plan 2^ of different colors from your hand or the deck.”
-S3: “Plan two from the deck, then Plan 1^ from the deck that match any color in your Plan.”

  • “From the deck” actions now allow you to draw the entire number of cards to which you are entitled.

For “Draw” actions, draw from the deck one at a time until you have the full number of cards that fit the criteria.

For color-dependent “from the deck” actions, declare the appropriate colors first, and then draw from the deck until you have the full number of that color to which you are entitled.

  • Your have two Research slots in addition to your Basic Techs. This means that you can research two cards and still have Basic Techs available.

Alright, once again, if you wanna give it a whirl, please do and let me know how it went. I’ll be playtesting this version next. Comments welcome.


#40

Well, I got home from work early today, and after getting the woodstove going and finishing a few chores, I decided to bust out another 1-on-1 self-playtest.

Self-Playtest: Alpha 0.2

Nope, still didn’t document my starting state.

-In general, fewer actions resulted in somewhat clearer, more straightforward turns - although complex turns still happened. I think the turns felt better, because I only wound up taking actions that were directly useful each time, whereas previous iterations of the Impulse were just action spam.

-Each side had about 10 turns, confirming my suspicion that a game of Impulse is over in ~20 actions. Whether or not this is a bad thing remains to be seen.

-The decision to play a card to the Impulse or not was generally moot - in almost all circumstances, it’s better to play and take an action, and the sharing of that action was second to my desire to take it. The Impulse went through “waves” - it moved from useful actions to useless actions (as I played more-or-less useless 1’s from my hand to take a better action in the Impulse) and back to useful again. Maybe give some kind of bonus - draw a card? - for taking no Impulse action in a turn, to make the decision an actual decision

-When given the choice between a Tech or an Impulse action, I almost always went with a Tech. That might be because early on, each side had a chance to Research a Size 3 Tech, so we each had a powerful action that we could use every turn. I think this is alright - it just means that your Techs are good, which means Research is probably a useful action.

-Pretty sure the Command basic tech (discard a card to Command one fleet for one move) is just too good. The Build half of it is almost a joke because it’s so weak by comparison. A Size 2 Command is incrementally better, but the Basic tech is literally better than Size 1 Command. This may be solved by changing to “discard a card to Command a two ship fleet for one move” - so it’s useful at the outset but gets outstripped as you get gems.

-Size 3 actions are, in general, crazy-go-nuts. Size 3 Execute, in particular, is almost fucking broken. I researched it as a Tech and used it once - I Executed 3 Green cards from the deck, which started a chain of “from the deck” actions that were all boosted. I wound up with a 6 card plan (which I then used that turn) and playing through half the deck all from that. There was also some mining, trading, and refining in there. All in all, green won the game by going from 8 points to 21 points in a single turn, using a Size 3 Refine and a Size 3 Execute Tech. It took work to build to the point where those were winning moves, though, so maybe that’s not so bad?

But it’s Chudyk, so I’ll keep it that way.

-Trade is a weak action. I had a Size 3 Trade tech, and every single time I used some other Tech. Generally the Command tech, as it let me move my 4-transport fleet around and boost board actions like woah. See the above-mentioned broken-ass Command basic tech.

-Plan still annoys me for its utter lack of planning, but it also wound up actually being kinda useful, doubly so in a restricted-action format. There may be promise in that direction.

-I’ve only done 1v1 self-tests. Might try a 4-player some time when I’m bored.

-Revising “from the deck” actions to always give you their total number makes those actions wicked strong. Will worry about balance later, but it’s worth making the note.