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Subject: 4th Expansion News - Alien Artifacts rss

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nishadham
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Mr Tom Lehmann has posted some news about the 4th Race expansion, which is going to be called Alien Artifacts. It's buried in an old discussion, so I'm posting this here in case you missed it.

Original post:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/6266415#6266415

Tom Lehmann wrote:
Sure, I can discuss the next Race arc a bit more now. It is a single expansion, called Alien Artifacts, consisting of two parts:

* ~45 new cards and start worlds to add to (only) the base set, plus a set of action cards and start hand for a fifth player.

* ~45 cards and Alien tokens used to represent the Alien Orb which players jointly map and explore, gaining tokens of various types that provide powers and VPs. There are also five new Explore action cards used to map the Orb (instead of gaining an additional card or greater card selection).

The Alien Orb scenario provides a new RFTG experience, as players have to balance how much effort, resources, and actions they wish to put into exploring the Orb versus developing their empires.

Military is used to get past certain doorways and to open some caches. Various Alien artifacts (tokens picked up), in turn, affect the empire portion of the game, by providing discounts, one-shot abilities, and counting towards some of the new 6-cost developments.

Depending on how closely the Alien survey teams bunch up within the orb, choosing Orb Explore becomes important in order to have your survey team move before other teams to grab a token (the players that chose Orb Explore get to add to the map and move before the players who didn't choose that action). This adds another tension to the RFTG action choice mechanism: do you race other players to grab tokens or move away from them and then just leech their Orb Explores to pick up a token or two?

The number of Alien Orb cards used scales with the number of players and mapping the entire Orb is another game end condition.

Everything gets used in the Alien Orb scenario, while players can also play the base game with just the new cards and start worlds.

Because of this modular nature, I split this expansion's development into two parts: first, just getting a card set that plays well with the base set, and then getting the Orb scenario to work. In particular, I wanted to make sure that the various developments that interact with the Orb scenario were still viable without it, though a bit weaker or more specialized.

I'm happy to report that the new card set works quite well and is fairly stable (just one card has changed in the last month). The expansion plus base set (without the Orb stuff) currently totals 160 play cards and start worlds. That's a nice number (20 less than RFTG + GS + RvI), that is neither too hard to shuffle nor has too high variance.

Three things I strongly wanted in this "reboot" were: A) to keep things simple (so even brand new players could easily play with this expansion); B) to keep the "power creep" in the new cards under control; and C) to ensure that all the base set cards remained useful. I'm pretty happy with the results.

There are only ~10 new powers (+4 powers for just the Orb scenario) and only 3 somewhat complicated powers in the entire set. Over half the cards don't have any text at all. Yet, I managed to come up with a lot of interesting twists using just existing base set powers.

Here's a concrete example:

***Imperium*** Stealth Tactics, 2 cost, 1 VP development, +1 Military, may discard this card from tableau for +3 Military (additional) this phase.

Essentially, this is New Military Tactics glued to a +1 Military power. It's very flexible, but costs 2. Would you rather have New Military Tactics, Expedition Force, Space Marines, or it?

Typical winning scores with this expansion are in the 30-45 point range, rarely getting to 55. This is very similar to playing with just the base set, which indicates that I've been reasonably successful at keeping the power level of the new cards in check.

I've been very sparing with Consume powers in this expansion, to make sure that base set cards such as Expanding Colony, Outlaw World, etc. remain useful. A few base set cards have also gained specific VP scoring boosts from new 6-cost developments.

The only thing we use from the first expansion arc is the deal two and choose a start world after seeing your starting six cards mechanic introduced in Rebel versus Imperium. Nothing else.

I'm currently working on the Orb Scenario. Then the production slog occurs, so publication is more than 6 months away. A few weeks before it apears, I'll post a more detailed preview.
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B C Z
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So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?
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Brian Sturk
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byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?


Raises hand...

Most likely I would.
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Stefan Hammer
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Yea, I think I will as well.

I play unsleeved anyways, so my base cards are getting a little worn and faded.
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Robin Levins
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byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?

How many people already have an extra base set for teaching newbies, and will simply add that to the set? *raises hand*
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eric hill
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telengard wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?


Raises hand...

Most likely I would.

ditto
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Eric Brosius
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byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?


I actually have four base sets. One is all by itself, one is combined with The Gathering Storm, one is combined with The Gathering Storm and Rebel vs. Imperium, and the fourth is combined with all three current expansions. Seems like the obvious approach to me.
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Rob Neuhaus
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Eric Brosius wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?


I actually have four base sets. One is all by itself, one is combined with The Gathering Storm, one is combined with The Gathering Storm and Rebel vs. Imperium, and the fourth is combined with all three current expansions. Seems like the obvious approach to me.


Indeed, Tom is a fool for making a new arc. With a new arc, he is passing up on the quadratic purchasing behavior .
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Todd McCorkle
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Poll: Who is planning on getting 'Alien Artifact'?
I was going to ask how many people who didn't get BoW or maybe even RvI was thinking about getting the next arc. I thought a poll might be more apt...
Which best describes you?
I only own the base set and do not plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I only own the base set, but still plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I own the base set and gathering storm. I do not plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I own the base set and gathering storm. I plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I own the base set, gathering storm, and rebel vs imperium. I do not plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I own the base set, gathering storm, and rebel vs imperium. I plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I own everything to date. I'm done, I do not plan on getting the 2nd arc.
I own everything to date. I plan on getting everything.
      553 answers
Poll created by kusinohki



Don't think I've ever done a poll before. Hope this one makes sense.
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Brendon Russell
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UlyZed wrote:
After we stop fawning over our inefficient consumer addictions does anyone want to say anything about how awesome this expansion sounds?

I was intriuged to see how this expansion was going to be different; I'm really impressed by what Tom has put out so far.


Yeah, the Alien Orb scenario sounds pretty interesting. I'd been wondering whether the 2nd arc would be designed more for newer/less hardcore players - as an alternative to The Gathering Storm, which seems to put some people off with its low number of new cards - or the captive hardcore audience. Looks like it'll cater nicely for both audiences.
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Overall, i think it sounds fantastic and i can't wait. But then, RftG is my holy grail, so it's gonna be hard to disappoint me. I'll take any new RftG i can get. More detailed reactions below.

One thing i really like is how he's making it about as simple as the base game. This should make it easier to teach and get new ppl into the game, rather than harder and harder like the arc1. Funny that in future i'll likely be teaching ppl with the arc2, then later moving to arc1.

Also we'll be able to teach new ppl with the whole arc2 immediately at the same time. This is good news, no splitting off into 2 games, for juniors and big boys.

I'm not sure i like the idea of it being modular. I thought the modularity in arc1 was overdone (likely due to the publisher's requests), and expected no modularity for arc2. It doesn't really matter, tho, as i'm guaranteed to always play with "everything on" as usual. I guess it caters to ppl who are more picky, as opposed to wanting to have as much going on as possibe.

I was expecting more new cards. Only ~28% of the entire arc2 will be new cards. The base set has always been pretty vanilla since the expansions, and it will be a majority of arc2's cards. Gonna be tough to go backwards, i'm not sure i like the sound of that. I was fine with the mega-deck shuffling, and the supposed increased variance of a bigger deck never bothered me. I blame the complainers!

Note however that i might be misinterpreting how the Alien Orb scenario works. "~45 cards and tokens" could mean there's another 35(?) cards that get shuffled into the deck or something. That would up the ratio to possibly almost 40% new cards, closer to the 50/50 ratio i'd be happy with.

I'm very happy to hear the choose 2-keep 1 homeworlds rule will return. That was almost certainly my single favorite change of all the arc1 expansions.

Explore having 3 phase choices, rather than produce having 2, seems a little awkward. All explore choices will be watered down/used less often, especially early on as ppl are enamored with the newness of Alien Orb and Orb Explore. Dunno if that's good or bad tho.
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Rob Neuhaus
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Tom wrote:
I've been very sparing with Consume powers in this expansion, to make sure that base set cards such as Expanding Colony, Outlaw World, etc. remain useful. A few base set cards have also gained specific VP scoring boosts from new 6-cost developments.


Also note this. It simultaneously helps Expanding Colony and Outlaw World (though I still doubt they will reach even mediocrity, but we'll see) and nerfs base game produce/consume in a different way than TGS did.
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Mike Forrey
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Some of the best gaming news i have heard this year so far. Can't wait to get a copy of this.
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Peter Folke
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rrenaud wrote:
Tom wrote:
I've been very sparing with Consume powers in this expansion, to make sure that base set cards such as Expanding Colony, Outlaw World, etc. remain useful. A few base set cards have also gained specific VP scoring boosts from new 6-cost developments.


Also note this. It simultaneously helps Expanding Colony and Outlaw World (though I still doubt they will reach even mediocrity, but we'll see) and nerfs base game produce/consume in a different way than TGS did.


Excellent point.
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Johan Sporre
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It seems like you'll also be able to play base + TGS + RvI + BoW with the Alien-expansion, or am I reading it wrong?
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Jerome Nivet
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Steinman wrote:
It seems like you'll also be able to play base + TGS + RvI + BoW with the Alien-expansion, or am I reading it wrong?


My understanding is that you won't be able to add the first 3 expansions if you play with Alien Artifacts. It'll be either:

Base + any of the first 3 expansions (or all) = arc1

or

Base + Alien Artifacts = arc2
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byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?


Heh, I already have another copy waiting for the second arc. Friend gave it to me as a present when I already had it, instead of exchanging it I kept it for arc 2.
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Kester J
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This is happy news. I'd hoped for an Alien theme in the new arc, but Tom has come up with something different than I was expecting - in a good way.

It sounds like there's a board of sorts; I hope it'll be pretty quick to set up, in the spirit of keeping things simple. After having to deal with three expansions worth of cards plus goals plus prestige for Brink, keeping close to the base game setup/teardown time is my number one wish for the new arc.
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Steinman wrote:
It seems like you'll also be able to play base + TGS + RvI + BoW with the Alien-expansion, or am I reading it wrong?

It sounds like you could probly play it that way if you use only the cards, without the Alien Orb scenario. I'm guessing it won't be playstested that way, and will be weird, kind of like playing base race + RvI only.
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Philip Thomas
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I'm interested but not committed...and the issue of buying another base set is one factor against.

That said, I'll probably end up buying this eventually...
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Victor Caminha
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And so it begins...
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Another expansion? Sounds like a job for a new Gambling World card
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Craig Groff-Folsom
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I appreciate that, for those of us that have not loaded up on multiple copies of the base game, Tanga's looking out for us... almost on cue, even.
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Brendon Russell
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entranced wrote:
I'm not sure i like the idea of it being modular. I thought the modularity in arc1 was overdone (likely due to the publisher's requests), and expected no modularity for arc2. It doesn't really matter, tho, as i'm guaranteed to always play with "everything on" as usual. I guess it caters to ppl who are more picky, as opposed to wanting to have as much going on as possibe.


I'm fine with it - it caters for genuine differences in experience and preference. The only concern, as Tom mentioned, is getting the cards with Orb-related powers to be OK without the Orb scenario. I think this was achieved well enough with takeover powers, even if it's not ideal.

entranced wrote:
I was expecting more new cards. Only ~28% of the entire arc2 will be new cards. The base set has always been pretty vanilla since the expansions, and it will be a majority of arc2's cards. Gonna be tough to go backwards, i'm not sure i like the sound of that. I was fine with the mega-deck shuffling, and the supposed increased variance of a bigger deck never bothered me. I blame the complainers!


I thought it might have been the size of tGS + RvI combined, but 46 new cards is fine with me. From previous expansions I think that'll be ample to add variety and additional strategies, and reevaluation of existing cards and game situations.

I can't recall that much complaining about the deck size. As for variance, IIRC that's been a concern of Tom's ever since designing RvI, and was one of the main reasons a 3rd expansion wasn't originally planned.

entranced wrote:
"~45 cards and tokens" could mean there's another 35(?) cards that get shuffled into the deck or something.

Kester wrote:
It sounds like there's a board of sorts; I hope it'll be pretty quick to set up, in the spirit of keeping things simple. After having to deal with three expansions worth of cards plus goals plus prestige for Brink, keeping close to the base game setup/teardown time is my number one wish for the new arc.


My impression is that the Alien Orb cards will form the "board" for the Orb, possibly being built and/or revealed as the game goes along.

entranced wrote:
I'm very happy to hear the choose 2-keep 1 homeworlds rule will return. That was almost certainly my single favorite change of all the arc1 expansions.


Agreed, although I would've just house-ruled it in anyway (as I did with tGS before RvI came out).

entranced wrote:
Explore having 3 phase choices, rather than produce having 2, seems a little awkward. All explore choices will be watered down/used less often, especially early on as ppl are enamored with the newness of Alien Orb and Orb Explore. Dunno if that's good or bad tho.


Not necessarily - Orb Explore could end up getting chosen in favour of build phases or Consume/Produce, rather than diluting existing Explore options. It'll depend on how and when the artifact tokens are gained out of exploring the Orb, and how Orb Explore interacts with regular Explore.

Steinman wrote:
It seems like you'll also be able to play base + TGS + RvI + BoW with the Alien-expansion, or am I reading it wrong?


With the Alien expansion cards almost certainly yes, with the Orb scenario who knows - there could potentially be some odd interactions or rules issues that arise.

I think the mega-deck (274 cards!) might be unwieldy, but it could be great for those lucky enough to play RftG with drafting. I know I'll be very tempted to create a custom deck with a mix of cards from all the expansions.



byronczimmer wrote:
So, how many people will repurchase a base set so they don't have to fish out expansion cards in order to play "Brink Race" versus "Alien Orb Race" ?


At this stage I'm not planning to, since I have a limited budget and I don't play Race face-to-face that often so I can get my fix of other expansions vs the AI or online. I might keep an eye out for a copy as a trade or second-hand purchase though.
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Jerome Nivet
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I assume that with this new arc, the war between the Imperium and the Rebels doesn't even take place?

Don't know about you guys but i'll find it hard to unthink that the whole conflict that erupted in RvI didn't happen in the first place
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Dave41fan wrote:
I appreciate that, for those of us that have not loaded up on multiple copies of the base game, Tanga's looking out for us... almost on cue, even.


Worth pointing out that after shipping costs it's actually almost $1 cheaper on Amazon with FSSS/Prime - http://www.amazon.com/Rio-Grande-Games-Race-Galaxy/dp/B000YL.... Also useful for those that don't see the thread in the next two hours
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