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Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization» Forums » Variants

Subject: Small Tweaks and Balances rss

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Frank Zappa
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In my reading and (very limited) play experience with TtA, I've noticed that there are a few cards that simply go untouched. So I thought it might be nice to make a few tweaks to those cards to make them more viable. The main goal here is to give niche cards a slightly broader use without actually altering their main function. Think of it like a "patch" for the game.

Bear in mind, though, that I'm quite inexperienced at this game, so feel free to correct my n00bness whenever applicable.

I'm going to focus on leaders, here, since this is where there seems to be the most imbalance.


Hammurabbi: Can build two phases of a wonder for 1 civil action.

Hammy giving 1 CA is too powerful. Having Hammy 1 CA while losing 1 MA is too crippling. The idea here is to axe the MA penalty, and instead give him a bonus that fits with the spirit of extra CA, but is less diverse and ergo less powerful. This would make age A and age 1 wonders more viable in general, and CA-heavy wonders like Library of Alexandria in particular. It would also synergize well with a Hanging Gardens->SPB gambit, if that's what you're into.

If this still seems too weak, allow him to build as many stages as he can afford with one CA.


Alexander: Each Infantry gains +1 STR

This way Alex's strength boost would apply to sacrificed Infantry. While this gives a military boost, the main advantage in my mind would be early territory conquest (which fits in nicely with Alex).

A less extreme (and likely better) version would be to cap this at x Infantry, Homer-style. Say 2-3, or possibly the number of players.


Genghis Khan:

I don't actually think he's that useless, but I've seen his name come up a few times, so if you feel like no one ever picks Genghis, a possible solution would be letting him use tactics.

Joan of Arc:

This is a tough one. I'm thinking if you add to her "Enemy aggressions cost +1 MA," that could work, but it might need to replace one of her two current bonuses. Another possibility is having her gain +1 STR from every happy face, not just those generated from temples.


Napoleon: Napoleon and Air Forces combined triple your tactics bonus, rather than quadrupling it.

I'm normally against nerfs, because to me it's better to make less interesting cards more powerful than to take powerful cards and drag them down. But this goes beyond Napoleon being powerful and takes it into cheese territory.

Another option would be to simply not allow combining Nappy with Air Forces (i.e. if Nappy is your leader you would need to attach Air Forces to an army other than the one he's doubling). If you still feel like he's too big a deal, get rid of that bonus MA he gives.

Shakespeare and Bach:

These are the big ones. Bach especially but Shakespeare as well are cards that seem to never get played. To hear some players talk, Age II may as well have 4 leaders. They've got situational uses, but those tend to be niche enough that they will rarely come up. These guys are forced to compete with excellent leaders like Nappy and Cook, and they promote culture at a time where military tends to become a really big deal.

So, what to do? This is the toughest one, as far as I'm concerned. One solution would be to take Bach's tech and resource bonuses and give them all to Shakespeare. That way Shakespeare would have super Theatres that can be built cheap. Maybe even make it 2 bulbs and resources, and have them apply to both Theatres and Libraries. That seems like a lot, but if you're going to focus on culture in Age II, you're going to be punished for it, so we might as well make it a punishment worth taking.

As for Bach? Well, who knows. He was a great man of faith who wrote music for churches, so it would make sense if he were to benefit temples and theatres together. But how? Double their culture output? Double their happy faces? Allow you to raise population and build a temple/theatre for 1 CA? Free temple and/or theatre upon election? Gain one point of military strength for every point of culture you're generating (you know, because his music inspires people to fight... would make more sense with Wagner, I guess)?


So... Thoughts? Like I said, I'm not terribly experienced, so some of these might be terrible ideas. Please don't hesitate to point that out. My goal here is to drum up a list of minor changes that would make the cards a bit more balanced. After this I might look at one or two wonders.

I realize some people like having unbalanced cards or leaders, because that adds some of the thrill to the game: If I want to take a military lead, and Caesar's not in the card row, do I wait to see if he shows up? Or do I play it safe and grab Alexander, the inferior choice? But the wonderful thing about house rules is that they're optional.
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Petri Savola
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KingCrimson250 wrote:
Alexander: Each Infantry gains +1 STR

This way Alex's strength boost would apply to sacrificed Infantry. While this gives a military boost, the main advantage in my mind would be early territory conquest (which fits in nicely with Alex).

A less extreme (and likely better) version would be to cap this at x Infantry, Homer-style. Say 2-3, or possibly the number of players.

Alexander does not need to be weakened. The current one is OK and better than what you propose, because he gives +1 str for knights too. I don't mind if he's given +1 per unit to colonization though.

Quote:
Genghis Khan:

I don't actually think he's that useless, but I've seen his name come up a few times, so if you feel like no one ever picks Genghis, a possible solution would be letting him use tactics.

It would make him actually a strong leader, combined with light or heavy cavalry. Could work.

Quote:
Shakespeare and Bach:

These are the big ones. Bach especially but Shakespeare as well are cards that seem to never get played. To hear some players talk, Age II may as well have 4 leaders. They've got situational uses, but those tend to be niche enough that they will rarely come up. These guys are forced to compete with excellent leaders like Nappy and Cook, and they promote culture at a time where military tends to become a really big deal.

So, what to do? This is the toughest one, as far as I'm concerned. One solution would be to take Bach's tech and resource bonuses and give them all to Shakespeare. That way Shakespeare would have super Theatres that can be built cheap. Maybe even make it 2 bulbs and resources, and have them apply to both Theatres and Libraries. That seems like a lot, but if you're going to focus on culture in Age II, you're going to be punished for it, so we might as well make it a punishment worth taking.

As for Bach? Well, who knows. He was a great man of faith who wrote music for churches, so it would make sense if he were to benefit temples and theatres together. But how? Double their culture output? Double their happy faces? Allow you to raise population and build a temple/theatre for 1 CA? Free temple and/or theatre upon election? Gain one point of military strength for every point of culture you're generating (you know, because his music inspires people to fight... would make more sense with Wagner, I guess)?

Maybe give +1 happy face for both leaders, making them situationally very useful, if 1 happy faces is crucially needed.
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Frank Zappa
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Petri wrote:

Alexander does not need to be weakened. The current one is OK and better than what you propose, because he gives +1 str for knights too. I don't mind if he's given +1 per unit to colonization though.


It wouldn't weaken him, but strengthen him. Right now he just gets +1 to overall STR for every military unit. What I'm proposing is that instead of that, give the +1 STR directly to the unit. The difference is that it means that Warriors are now 2 STR, meaning they can be sacrificed for 4 STR and are worth 2 in colonization bids (the way it is now, since the bonus goes directly to the overall STR, sacrificed Warriors would only go from 1 to 2, and are only worth 1 in bids).

It might be worthwhile adding his bonus to Knights, as well, but that might overlap too much with Genghis Khan.


On the other hand, +1 overall STR (as it is now) and +1 colonization per unit could also work.
 
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Petri Savola
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KingCrimson250 wrote:
Petri wrote:

Alexander does not need to be weakened. The current one is OK and better than what you propose, because he gives +1 str for knights too. I don't mind if he's given +1 per unit to colonization though.


It wouldn't weaken him, but strengthen him. Right now he just gets +1 to overall STR for every military unit. What I'm proposing is that instead of that, give the +1 STR directly to the unit. The difference is that it means that Warriors are now 2 STR, meaning they can be sacrificed for 4 STR and are worth 2 in colonization bids (the way it is now, since the bonus goes directly to the overall STR, sacrificed Warriors would only go from 1 to 2, and are only worth 1 in bids).

It might be worthwhile adding his bonus to Knights, as well, but that might overlap too much with Genghis Khan.


On the other hand, +1 overall STR (as it is now) and +1 colonization per unit could also work.

I'm not understanding. You're proposing +1 str to each infantry unit, which is worse than +1 to overall str for every military unit.
 
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Frank Zappa
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Alright, let me see if I can explain this. It's possible that I'm explaining it poorly, but it's also possible that I've fundamentally misunderstood either the card or the game mechanics, in which case I want to get this sorted out.

Here's the deal.

Let's say you've got two Warriors and Alex. Under the current rules, that would put you at 4 STR. Under the revised rules, that would still put you at 4 STR.

Now let's say that someone flips a Territory. Under the current rules, assuming he has no colonization, Alexander would be able to bid up to 2 (2 Warriors at 1 STR each). However, under the revised rules, Alexander would be able to be able to bid up to 4 (2 Warriors at 2 STR each).

Now let's imagine that Alexander draws an Enslave aggression and wants to play it against someone. Current Alex would be able to sacrifice both Warriors for a maximum of 6 STR (2 STR 1 Warriors x2 from Sacrifice +2 from Alex), while revised Alex could sacrifice them for a maximum of 8 STR (2 STR 2 Warriors x2 from sacrifice).

It may be necessary to have it apply to both Infantry and Cavalry in order to make him worthwhile, though.
 
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Kester J
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Very nice. You've obviously thought quite a bit about these, and I think they make quite a bit of sense (I've never understood why Ghengis has the tactics restriction he does in the first place - it usually worse than negates the military bonus he gives). I have the same feelings as you do about Bach - I've no idea how to make him useful, at least while keeping some of the current nature of the card. I rarely see Opera built because of the population more than the other costs - as you say, you need it for military instead.

The only one I might disagree with is Hammurabi, where often I think you won't have the rocks early on to build two stages of a wonder at once, even if you wanted to. And even if you did, you're going to use his ability, what, maybe twice in the whole game? I do really like your thinking though; the idea of giving a restricted civil action is a nice one. I wonder if "once a turn, you may take a card from the card row for one civil action less, to a minimum of one" would work? It gives the extra card quality that civil actions help with, without the extremely powerful early ability to just accomplish more things on your turn - and it'd probably be more consistently useful.
 
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jonas havreglid
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I would tweak the following:

Theaters: make them 4/8/12 resources and 3/6/10 science

Tactics: Make Classical Army 8(4)and Napoleonic Army 7(4)

Events: Add an age 1 event that gives bonus to the player with the most culture. E.g. Renaissance: The player with most culture scores 3 science.

Leaders and Wonders:
I mostly play with my own set of leaders and wonders but if I were to modify the original set i would do the following:

Remove the military action from Napoleon. He is still strong but at least you need more to get the combo going and he is not as obvious a pick if you are low on military actions.

I do not know how to salvage Bach, the most simliar leader in my set is Elizabeth I: Each of your temples and theaters produce additional culture equal to their level and 1 strength. She does not have discount but gives much more culture if you invest in theaters/temples.'

I do not think that Hammurabbi is that bad, as long as you switch when things start to get dangerous or get warfare.

Taj Mahal and the Library of Alexandria would both benefit from being 1 step easier to build. The Colossus is in the wrong age, since you do not yet know if you will draw colonies.
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Ok, here are my 2 cents.

Revolutionary Idea (A) is now Breakthrough (A) (after researching tech you gain 1 science back).

Aleksander: +1 str for each unit, discovering military techs cost you 1 science less

Why this change?
Alexander was great tactian and strategist. He was very innovative in his military strategie and tactic. Vanilla version is kinda weak, so it need a little boost, nothing too strong to not make him best in age A.

Hammurabi: When you build (also upgrade) public bulding (grey) you receive spent action back. Additionally, all your temples produce 1 culture point more.

Why this change?
In the time of peace Hammurabi was focusing on internal improvements of his kingdom. One of his main focuses was on temples too. So I think this change emulates this nicely. It is also close to the original design. And we finally have something to interact with temples early game.

Genghis Khan: no tactic card bonus, each horse have +1 str, each generate 1 culture, 1 MA

Why this change?
This is Korean promo card - Age A leader. This is just how Genghis should look from beginning in my opinion. You can hunt tactics with extra MA, and build crucial Knights with him easier. Simply, solid leader in my opinion.

Joan of Arc: You gain +1 str for each happy face on your temples, when someone plays agression or war on you, you gain 10 culture

Why this change?
Small tweak on second ability, while extra str is always nice, she need something more to prevent others from attacking you

Bach: theaters 2 science less to discover, each cost 2 resource less to build, each theatre and temple produce 1 culture

Why this change?
Bach was composing for churches, he know how to play organs for instance. So giving him extra culture boost will help him be viable.

Shakespear: librariers produce 1 culture more, theatre-library pair produces 2 culture, 2 happy faces

Why this change?
While he isn't weak in some games, he is very risky to go all in theaters/libraries strategy. I think giving him 2 happy faces will boost him nicely, making him nice leader in age II.

Napoleon: You double your best army tactic card (no military action gain)

Why this change?
Napoleon is strong enough with his main ability, he don't need to be insta pick in II era. Smart players will have planty of Military Actions if they want to go war route in late game.

Colossuss: 1 culture, 1 str, 1 blue token, +1 on colonization

Taj Mahal: 3 culture, 1 happy face

Code of Law: 1 CA, 2 blue tokens

 
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Andrew E
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First, the game is just fine having cards of wildly different power. The card row balances almost everything cleanly.

That said, I don't think anything here will cause any particular harm except Genghis Khan. Genghis is currently a fine niche leader (he's actually an option for easy early culture, plus a slight colonization bonus, not a military leader), but allowing him to use tactics will mean that you've got a path in age 1 which will make you both the culture and military leader.

There's a reason Mike doesn't give you military, and Napoleon doesn't give you culture.
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