House rules for SE4X — Alien Power Variant
OK, I’ve played a few AP solo games, and my thoughts so far.
- If an AP rolls ECON its much harder. (The game where one AP got 3 ECON rolls was impossible). Give up X CP once to gain X CP/turn starting 3 turns later is great.
- Easy isn’t too difficult. Normal difficulty is much harder. So much so that I wonder if difficult can be beaten at all….
- The AP sends off too many small fleets.
- The AP has poor tech choices.
- It’s a bit to easy to see the movement.
- The AP launch a fleet that serves no purpose.
Here’s what I”m thinking of doing to modify it to make it a bit more uncertain and harder to predict. To keep it from being uniformly harder, I’m going to make ECON rolls weaker. You may also have to lower the CP a notch. Most of these are sever-able ideas, mix and match to taste. (I suspect at Normal difficulty you wouldn’t need all these rules).
- The AP gets instant tech upgrades. (Just to be clear).
- The human does his full econ phase before the alien’s roll.
- No nuking fleets by flipping unrevealed counters underneath alien fleets. (Too gamey).
- If the AP roll’s ECON, you get the die (in 3 turns, as normal) but the AP gets one die of NEGATIVE CP (to Fleet or Tech only, can go negative). So you give up 2 dice of production right now to get a die (forever) in 3 turns. (This maybe should even be 4 turns later).
- Decoys — When you first encounter an alien fleet in combat, before you roll for tech/fleet composition, figure out the fleet strength. If the die roll is a 1 (or less), the fleet is a decoy. It disappears and the AP gets the fleet points back on it’s sheet. A fleet that reaches a valuable undefended target (colony, pipeline) is never a decoy. Raider fleets may be decoys.
- Modifier 1 — Divide your fleet cost (in CP) by the AP fleet cost. If that’s 2 or higher, the modifier is that number -1. Example — the Alien Fleet is 18 CP. If your fleet is 6-35, it’s a decoy on a 1. If it’s 36-53, it’s a decoy on 1-2, etc.
- Modifier 2 — Subtract 1 from the roll unless the AP can afford to upgraded Size, Attack, Defense or Tactics. The AP is maxed out or would gain no benefit from upgrading those. This is -1 for all three, not -1 for each.
- Move Technology
- Alien Powers increase their move on 1-4, but if increasing their move technology would not shorten the time (in econ rounds) to reaching any legitimate target (at time of launch) there is a +1 to the roll. (Rationale — Why increase move if it’s not going to help? and this just sucks points from combat techs).
- Timing — The roll is made the first movement phase the alien would get a bump in movement. (This makes the alien reveal when a human would, not several phases earlier).
- Purchasing — When rolling to increase technologies, APs do not roll until they are out of points. If there are 3 rolls in a row that cannot be bought, aliens stop buying and save their money. (Rationale — Often APs are forced to buy Minesweepers at lower levels, which puts them at a disadvantage).
- HW Defense — When you attack a HW seriously, all unrevealed fleets roll a d10. If the roll is greater or equal to their distance from the HW, the fleet is a decoy (put all fleet points back at the HW). Do the same for each ship that was revealed since the last econ phase. (A serious threat is one that could take the HW, not just to figure out if it’s bases or mines. There’s no good definition, use your judgement). Rationale — To prevent the player from just allowing a fleet to launch and then attack a weakened homeworld. Recalling revealed ships prevents gamey tactics, although it’s still useful.
- Turn order — Select the turn order you’d prefer (first or last). Roll a d10.
- 1-3: You get the order you prefer if you spent that many points on turn order bid. Otherwise you get the other one.
- 4-10: You get the order you wanted.