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Mass Effect Races v2.0


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#1 obsidian

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Posted 19 August 2011 - 06:02 PM

After the first successful playtest of my custom Mass Effect races on the ti3wiki, I've spent a lot of time rethinking the abilities. My goals were to a) come up with all-original abilities for the 8 races that aren't super-powered, b) make everything make more sense with the Mass Effect universe canon, now that I've played ME2, and c) to balance some flaws in the original set so that hopefully the races are on roughly equal footing

Please feel free to check these out and tell me what you think. Staying true to the Mass Effect theme is my primary concern, but I'm also worried that on the whole, what I've got is overpowered compared to the FFG races. I don't mind if they're better than the crappy races, but I hope none of these look too beefy when compared with Jol-Nar, Hacan, and Yssaril.

General rules to be used with these races:

  • Dreadnaughts cost 2 production capacity, and roll 2 combat dice in combat when undamaged.
  • Mecatol Rex is renamed "The Citadel". It is a 1,6 planet within a Nebula. Ground Forces on the Citadel may ignore the first two hits of any enemy bombardment.

 

Asari Republics

  • Bureaucratic Maneuvering: During the Strategy phase, before Strategy Cards are chosen, you may place your race marker on a Strategy Card. When another player attempts to take that Strategy Card, you may force him to pay 3 influence or choose a different card instead.
  • Political Influence: Once per round as an action, you may choose a Political card from your hand or from the top three cards of the deck. A vote immediately takes place on this agenda

Starting Techs: Enviro Compensators, Sarween Tools

Racial Tech: Biotic Commandos (5 resources): When an opponent activates a system containing any of your units or planets, you may immediately choose one of his non-home planets. Exhaust that planet and destroy up 2 GF, 1 ST, or 1 PDS unit there

Homeworld: Thessia (2,3) Aperanti (1,2)

Trade: 3,3

Starting Units: (12) 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Carrier, 1 Cruiser, 2 Fighters, 2 GF, 1 SD

Leaders: Diplomat, Diplomat, Agent

 

Salarian Union

  • Pre-emptive Strike: At the beginning of each game round, you may spend 1 CC from Strategy to act on initiative count 0 instead of your normal initiative count for that turn only
  • Research Focus: Your planetary technology specialties are worth +1 discount and may be used even when exhausted

Starting Techs: Enviro Compensators, Antimass Deflectors, Hyper Metabolism

Racial Tech: – Ultraviolet Lasers (3 resources): Your Cruisers gain the Anti-Fighter Barrage ability.

Homeworld: Sur'Kesh (3,4) Yellow tech specialty

Trade: 2,2

Starting Units: (12.5) 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 2 Fighters, 3 GF, 2 PDS, 1 SD

Leaders: Scientist, Agent, Diplomat



Turian Heirarchy

  • Treaty of Farixen: You start with an extra Command Counter in your Fleet Supply
  • Overwhelming Odds: During a Tactical Action, you may ignore your Fleet Supply until the end of the Space Battle step. Ships in excess of your Fleet Supply must then retreat to an adjacent activated friendly or empty system or be destroyed
  • Declare War: During the strategy phase, you may spend 1 Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation pool to choose a player. You gain a +1 to all combat rolls against that player this round.

Starting Techs: Hylar V Assault Laser, Automated Defense Turrets

Racial Tech: Communications Deck (2 resources) Your Dreadnaughts do not count towards your Fleet Supply

Homeworld: Palavan (4,2)

Trade: 2,3

Starting Units: (13.5) 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 3 Fighters, 2 Ground Forces, 1 Space Dock

Leaders: Admiral, General, Diplomat

 

Systems Alliance

  • Expansionist: When you take control of a planet, you may place 1 free GF on that planet
  • Armored Carriers: Your carriers roll +1 in combat and have the Sustain Damage ability
  • Internal Emission Sink: Light Wave Deflectors only applies to your Cruisers and Destroyers until you acquire the Magen Defense Grid technology

Starting Techs: Hylar V Assault Lasers, Antimass Deflectors, Light Wave Deflectors

Racial Tech: Parallel VI Array (4 resources) You may reorganize your Command Counters freely during your turn

Homeworld: Earth (3,1), Arcturus Station (0,2)

Trade: 2,2

Starting Units: (12) 1 Carrier, 1 Destroyer, 1 Cruiser, 4 Fighters, 4 Ground Forces, 1 Space Dock

Leaders: Admiral, Diplomat, Scientist

 

Krogan Clans

  • Battle Masters: Your Ground Forces have +1 to all combat rolls and gain the Sustain Damage ability. You may never have more than 12 Ground Force Units at a time.
  • Unstoppable: You are immune to any effect that would force you to activate a system using a Command Counter from your reinforcements

Starting Techs: Enviro Compensators, Stasis Capsules

Racial Tech: Evolved Reproduction (3 resources) – There is no limit to the number of Ground Force units you may have.

Homeworld: Tuchenka (1,1) Kruban (3,0)

Trade: 1,1

Starting Units: (12.5) 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 3 GF, 3 Fighters, 1 PDS, 1 Space Dock

Leaders: General, General, Admiral

 


Quarian Flotilla

 

  • Migrant Fleet: At the start of the game, place the Migrant Fleet token in your Home System. The Migrant Fleet is a (1,2) planet that is always considered to have a Space Dock. It may not support PDS. It cannot be claimed, bombarded or invaded, but if alone with enemy ships is exhausted and considered blockaded. The system with the Migrant Fleet is always considered your home system. You may choose to consider the Migrant Fleet a ship with movement 1, unless it is blockaded. You may move and produce in the same action.
  • Flotilla: You have no Fleet Supply limit in your Home System
  • Strip Mining: During the Status Phase you may choose leave any number of your planets exhausted and receive Trade Goods equal to the resource value of those planets.

Starting Techs: Antimass Deflectors, XRD Transporters,

Racial Tech: Overload (2 resources): Before any Space Battle or Invasion Combat in which you are participating, you may choose one Technology advance held by your opponent. Your opponent loses the benefits of that advance until the end of the combat.

Homeworld: Leyya (2,0), Migrant Fleet (1,2)

Trade: 1,2

Starting Units: (12.5) 2 Carriers, 1 Cruiser, 6 Fighters, 3 GF, 1 Space Dock

Leaders: Admiral, Admiral, Scientist


Batarian Hegemony

  • Criminal Contacts: After any opponent plays or discards an Action Card, you may spend 2 TG to take that card into your hand.
  • Blitz: During any Space Battle or Invasion Combat in which you are the attacker, your opponents may not play Action Cards (other than Sabotage) until the beginning of the second combat round
  • Slaver Raids: Planets you are blockading do not refresh during the status phase

Starting Techs: Enviro Compensators, Antimass Deflectors

Racial Tech: Kinetic Impacters (4 resources) During planetary bombardments, you may spend a Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation area to destroy half of the opposing Ground Forces.

Homeworld: Kharshan (1,1), Camala (3,1)

Trade: 1,3

Starting Units: (12) 2 Cruisers, 1 Carrier, 3 Fighters, 3 GF, 1 PDS, 1 SD

Leaders: Scientist, Agent, Agent
 

 

Geth Network

  • Behind the Perseus Veil: You may ignore the movement restrictions of Nebulas. Your opponents do not gain the +1 bonus to their combat rolls while defending against you inside a Nebula.
  • Dropships: Your Ground Forces are immune to PDS fire during Invasion Combat. After the bombardment step of an Invasion Combat, you may choose to land additional Ground Forces and PDS units.

Starting Techs: Hylar V Assault Laser, Stasis Capsules, Cybernetics

Racial Tech: Invasion Pods (5 resources) - During your turn, you may choose to execute planetary landings and invasion combat before the Space Battle step

Homeworld: Nebula System, Rannoch (1,0), Algenib (3,0)

Trade: 1,1

Starting Units: (13.5) 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 4 Fighters, 5 GF, 1 SD

Leaders: Scientist, General, Agent
 



#2 Steve-O

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 03:31 AM

obsidian said:


Turian Heirarchy

  • Overwhelming Odds: During a Tactical Action, you may ignore your Fleet Supply until the end of the Space Battle step. Ships in excess of your Fleet Supply must then retreat to an adjacent activated friendly or empty system or be destroyed

Three questions:

1) Are all ships in excess of fleet supply required to retreat to the same system, or can they spread out if there are multiple valid target systems for the retreat?  What if the number of retreating ships is also in excess of Fleet Supply?

I would personally recommend requiring a single retreat point and saying that if the retreating fleet is also in excess of supply, the extra ships are destroyed in the retreating system.  If the Turian player is allowed to spread out his retreats, then grossly overstacking an attack hex just to put ships everywhere nearby could be a valid and potentially imbalancing side-effect.

2) Can this ability only be used when attacking? (ie: when moving into a hex containing enemy ships.) The way its worded, it seems that it can be used during any Tactical Action.  You move a huge pile of ships to the hex and then retreat the excess to other nearby systems at the end of the Space Battle step (whether or not any combat actually took place.)  See above.

3) The ability doesn't explicitly state this, but is it intended that the Turian player must place a CC in the retreat hex(es)?  Whether it comes from one of his pools or from reinforcements, he should be required to place a CC in any hexes that ships retreat to after using this ability.  Otherwise he can just keep going with the excess ships, crossing large portions of the map in a single Action Phase.  Another reason to force all ships to retreat to a single hex and destroy the excess, btw.



#3 obsidian

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 04:32 AM

Steve-O said:

obsidian said:

 


Turian Heirarchy

  • Overwhelming Odds: During a Tactical Action, you may ignore your Fleet Supply until the end of the Space Battle step. Ships in excess of your Fleet Supply must then retreat to an adjacent activated friendly or empty system or be destroyed

 

 

Three questions:

1) Are all ships in excess of fleet supply required to retreat to the same system, or can they spread out if there are multiple valid target systems for the retreat?  What if the number of retreating ships is also in excess of Fleet Supply?

I would personally recommend requiring a single retreat point and saying that if the retreating fleet is also in excess of supply, the extra ships are destroyed in the retreating system.  If the Turian player is allowed to spread out his retreats, then grossly overstacking an attack hex just to put ships everywhere nearby could be a valid and potentially imbalancing side-effect.

2) Can this ability only be used when attacking? (ie: when moving into a hex containing enemy ships.) The way its worded, it seems that it can be used during any Tactical Action.  You move a huge pile of ships to the hex and then retreat the excess to other nearby systems at the end of the Space Battle step (whether or not any combat actually took place.)  See above.

3) The ability doesn't explicitly state this, but is it intended that the Turian player must place a CC in the retreat hex(es)?  Whether it comes from one of his pools or from reinforcements, he should be required to place a CC in any hexes that ships retreat to after using this ability.  Otherwise he can just keep going with the excess ships, crossing large portions of the map in a single Action Phase.  Another reason to force all ships to retreat to a single hex and destroy the excess, btw.

It could be worded better. The retreat (or really, withdrawal) should follow all normal retreat/withdrawal rules, ie: must all go to the same system, the system must be adjacent , friendly, and previously activated, and any ships in the target system in excess of Fleet Supply at that time are destroyed.

Maybe this is clearer:

Overwhelming Odds: When moving into a system containing enemy units, you may ignore your Fleet Supply in that system. After the battle, ships in excess of your Fleet Supply must withdraw following normal withdrawal rules, or be destroyed

 



#4 SFRR

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:23 PM

 I think you have some really clever ideas!...Bravo!


(SFRR) aka Siferr Stark


#5 Iorveth

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:00 AM

 

First and foremost: Great ideas, great initiative. It is truly well done. That being said, there are some things that I, personally, disagree with, or have an opinion of; I hope you'll take it merely as feedback rather than criticism to your work, which I applaud.

 

 

obsidian said:

Racial Tech: Biotic Commandos (5 resources): When an opponent activates a system containing any of your units or planets, you may immediately choose one of his non-home planets. Exhaust that planet and destroy up 2 GF, 1 ST, or 1 PDS unit there

I fear this ability is too debilitating atm. While I know that TI is not a wargame, technologies such as this rapidly turn it into cold-war styled trenchwars in which nobody attacks because it is simply too costly to be worth the risk. The ability, on the top of it, costs nothing; it's basically a free of charge planetary exhaust + fortification demolisher, paving the way for stuff such as Local Unrest etc...

Basically, the mere threat of it will likely stall the game. I'd propose either a SA-cost component to the ability - after all, it is without limits and indescriminating - OR that you remove the exhaust component and retain the ability to pop things such as PDS, GF etc.

 

obsidian said:

Racial Tech: – Ultraviolet Lasers (3 resources): Your Cruisers gain the Anti-Fighter Barrage ability.

 

Potentially vastly overpowered. Destroyers are already by far the best unit in the game once ADT is acquired. Does that technology apply to cruisers as well? Still, even without ADT, this technology completely trivializes enemy fighter screens and provides the Salarian player with a decisively overpowered fleet. Really, going into depth about how wrong this is would require more space than this document (and my time and energy) allows. In the hands of a good, active and aggressive player, this is vastly overpowered.


obsidian said:

  • Declare War: During the strategy phase, you may spend 1 Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation pool to choose a player. You gain a +1 to all combat rolls against that player this round.

Before or after Strategy Cards are chosen? I'd imagine the guy whom has just been declared war on would like to pick diplomacy, provided he got the chance.

 

obsidian said:

Racial Tech: Communications Deck (2 resources) Your Dreadnaughts do not count towards your Fleet Supply

Not sure on this one, so I'll reserve judgment, but it seems to me it would encourage building a 'wrecking ball fleet', aka encourage a turtling, completely non-dynamic gameplay, which I doubt is the intention. But it truly is overpowered, provided you're allowed to get the snowball running.

 

obsidian said:

Krogan Clans

  • Battle Masters: Your Ground Forces have +1 to all combat rolls and gain the Sustain Damage ability. You may never have more than 12 Ground Force Units at a time.

Racial Tech: Evolved Reproduction (3 resources) – There is no limit to the number of Ground Force units you may have.

Both are thematically cool, but utterly insane; +1 AND sustain damage is absolutely ridiculously wicked. I'd propose that in addition, they're unable to acquire Dacxive Animators, Gen Synthesis and perhaps even unable to build MU's to balance out the cheap and powerful racetech in conjunction with the very strong racial ability.

 

obsidian said:

Racial Tech: Overload (2 resources): Before any Space Battle or Invasion Combat in which you are participating, you may choose one Technology advance held by your opponent. Your opponent loses the benefits of that advance until the end of the combat.

Does it stack with the mercenary who provides a similar effect? Cancelling 2 technologies could be utterly devastating. And does it apply to stuff like Stasis Capsules, instantly gibbing X amount of Ground Forces? Can it apply to racial technologies, potentially cracking up a Krogan player with excess of 12 Ground Forces?

obsidian said:

Leaders: Admiral, Admiral, Scientist

It could arguably fit the Quarians to have an agent rather than the 2nd Admiral, to reflect the skills in subterfuge that many seem to pick up on the Pilgrimage.


obsidian said:

Racial Tech: Kinetic Impacters (4 resources) During planetary bombardments, you may spend a Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation area to destroy half of the opposing Ground Forces.

I'm a bit torn on this one. It's thematically alright, arguably, and it's cool for its cost, but I fear it may trivialize technologies such as X-89 Bacterial Weapon. I think it'd work better if they had something akin to the Yin's conversion ability, to reflect that their Slaver-oriented focus.

 

 obsidian said:

Geth Network

  • Behind the Perseus Veil: You may ignore the movement restrictions of Nebulas. Your opponents do not gain the +1 bonus to their combat rolls while defending against you inside a Nebula.
  • Dropships: Your Ground Forces are immune to PDS fire during Invasion Combat. After the bombardment step of an Invasion Combat, you may choose to land additional Ground Forces and PDS units.

I actually feel these might be a bit lackluster, but correct me if I'm wrong. They seem rather situational and uninspiring, if thematically correct. I love the Nebula racial ability, really, but it's highly situational, and coupled with the Dropships, it doesn't seem to live up to the other race's abilities. In my opinion.

 

obsidian said:

Racial Tech: Invasion Pods (5 resources) - During your turn, you may choose to execute planetary landings and invasion combat before the Space Battle step

Pure genius. I love this one for the cost and for its thematic effect.



#6 obsidian

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 03:20 PM

SFRR said:

 I think you have some really clever ideas!...Bravo!

Thanks!



#7 obsidian

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:16 PM

ALSO: One rule I very much forgot - no Warsuns in Mass Effect. The Warsun tech simply does not exist. Dreadnaughts are the epitome of military ships. The only thing approximating a Warsun is a Reaper and I'm not prepared to unleash that on the galaxy just yet.



#8 obsidian

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:21 PM

Couldn't get the quotes to work right, just copied/pasted as follows:



#9 obsidian

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:52 PM

Racial Tech: Biotic Commandos (5 resources): When an opponent activates a system containing any of your units or planets, you may immediately choose one of his non-home planets. Exhaust that planet and destroy up 2 GF, 1 ST, or 1 PDS unit there

I fear this ability is too debilitating atm. While I know that TI is not a wargame, technologies such as this rapidly turn it into cold-war styled trenchwars in which nobody attacks because it is simply too costly to be worth the risk. The ability, on the top of it, costs nothing; it's basically a free of charge planetary exhaust + fortification demolisher, paving the way for stuff such as Local Unrest etc..."

Basically, the mere threat of it will likely stall the game. I'd propose either a SA-cost component to the ability - after all, it is without limits and indescriminating - OR that you remove the exhaust component and retain the ability to pop things such as PDS, GF etc.

This tech was initially conceived after a comment in version 1 that the Asari had nothing going for them militarily. And indeed, in the first playtest, the Turians beat the snot out of them. They had some back luck politically and could never get the value from their excellent trades. However, I take your point about turtleing/stalling. If it were changed I think I'd keep it free and eliminate the exhaust ability. Or, perhaps it could be used as an action, spending a CC from CP and getting both powers? That way it can be used more aggressively

Racial Tech: – Ultraviolet Lasers (3 resources): Your Cruisers gain the Anti-Fighter Barrage ability.

Potentially vastly overpowered. Destroyers are already by far the best unit in the game once ADT is acquired. Does that technology apply to cruisers as well? Still, even without ADT, this technology completely trivializes enemy fighter screens and provides the Salarian player with a decisively overpowered fleet. Really, going into depth about how wrong this is would require more space than this document (and my time and energy) allows. In the hands of a good, active and aggressive player, this is vastly overpowered.

ADT specifically refers to Destroyers, so the Cruisers would not receive the bonus. Salarians also don't start with any red techs so it will take some effort to get to ADT for uber-fighter-destruction. If this ability were too powerful it could be limited to a single precombat die against Fighters. Thematically this is due to a passage in the Codex under GARDIAN lasers that says Salarians use short wavelength lasers to have extra time to stop fighters/incoming missiles.

My previous idea was to somehow include the Special Tasks Group in the Salarians powers, but I couldn't figure out a good one. I thought of giving them the ability to mimic a Sabotage by spending a CC from SA, once per round. Too good?

I was also thinking about their scientific ability only giving the +1 and not working while exhausted. Techs would be free with 3 planets of the same color, and that might be too much.

 

* Declare War: During the strategy phase, you may spend 1 Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation pool to choose a player. You gain a +1 to all combat rolls against that player this round.

Before or after Strategy Cards are chosen? I'd imagine the guy whom has just been declared war on would like to pick diplomacy, provided he got the chance

I think leave it up to the Turian player. If he wants to broadcast it at the start of the phase, fine. If he wants to wait until all SC are picked, better!

Racial Tech: Communications Deck (2 resources) Your Dreadnaughts do not count towards your Fleet Supply

Not sure on this one, so I'll reserve judgment, but it seems to me it would encourage building a 'wrecking ball fleet', aka encourage a turtling, completely non-dynamic gameplay, which I doubt is the intention. But it truly is overpowered, provided you're allowed to get the snowball running.

I actually considered making this a base ability. At the start, it's basically a free CC in your FS, and it would allow a larger starting fleet which I want for the Turians. At the later stages of the game, yes you could pile all your DN into one system, but it's going to leave the rest of your systems empty. But that one fleet is going to do some damage. Appropriate, given the Turian's military strategy of "crush your enemy completely" but I agree, it's hard to judge this one without playtesting.

Krogan Clans

* Battle Masters: Your Ground Forces have +1 to all combat rolls and gain the Sustain Damage ability. You may never have more than 12 Ground Force Units at a time.

Racial Tech: Evolved Reproduction (3 resources) – There is no limit to the number of Ground Force units you may have.

Both are thematically cool, but utterly insane; +1 AND sustain damage is absolutely ridiculously wicked. I'd propose that in addition, they're unable to acquire Dacxive Animators, Gen Synthesis and perhaps even unable to build MU's to balance out the cheap and powerful racetech in conjunction with the very strong racial ability.

In v1 this ability was that the Krogan can build ST instead of GF at a cost of 1 resource, and they were one of the two races nobody wanted to play in the test. I took that as a critique of their weakness, but maybe I've gone too far the other way. It's easy enough to balance though, I think. Simply lower the limit from 12 to 9 or 8 or whatever seems better, and raise the cost of the race tech. I initially did exclude the green GF techs but it's a lot of verbage to include on the imaginary card I may someday actually print! Is there a simple way to phrase that? What if they didn't get the +1, just the sustain? They're supposed to be very hard to kill.

Racial Tech: Overload (2 resources): Before any Space Battle or Invasion Combat in which you are participating, you may choose one Technology advance held by your opponent. Your opponent loses the benefits of that advance until the end of the combat.

Does it stack with the mercenary who provides a similar effect? Cancelling 2 technologies could be utterly devastating. And does it apply to stuff like Stasis Capsules, instantly gibbing X amount of Ground Forces? Can it apply to racial technologies, potentially cracking up a Krogan player with excess of 12 Ground Forces?

By the way, I totally had this idea before the expansion came out! I'd say yes, it stacks. It'll be rare that you will get that particular Merc, and I don't think it would be game-breaking. I think I would go with the FAQ ruling about that Merc saying that it doesn't apply to racial techs or to Stasis Capsules.

Leaders: Admiral, Admiral, Scientist

It could arguably fit the Quarians to have an agent rather than the 2nd Admiral, to reflect the skills in subterfuge that many seem to pick up on the Pilgrimage.

True! I like it, and after checking to make sure no other of the races has Admiral, Scientist, Agent, I think it's a good change. I was a little worried that two Admirals would be a bit much. And the Quarians really shouldn't be that good in combat.

Racial Tech: Kinetic Impacters (4 resources) During planetary bombardments, you may spend a Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation area to destroy half of the opposing Ground Forces.

I'm a bit torn on this one. It's thematically alright, arguably, and it's cool for its cost, but I fear it may trivialize technologies such as X-89 Bacterial Weapon. I think it'd work better if they had something akin to the Yin's conversion ability, to reflect that their Slaver-oriented focus.

When I was toying with these races, they did have the Yin conversion power, but I moved away from it in the interest of originality. You're right that it's very similar to X-89, but honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen that tech actually used. Batarians start a long way away from it, too, so this is a similar method of getting to the same place. I thought of saying their DN/CR get an automatic hit or something like that but I couldn't think of a good way to balance it. Any other suggestions?

Geth Network

* Behind the Perseus Veil: You may ignore the movement restrictions of Nebulas. Your opponents do not gain the +1 bonus to their combat rolls while defending against you inside a Nebula.
* Dropships: Your Ground Forces are immune to PDS fire during Invasion Combat. After the bombardment step of an Invasion Combat, you may choose to land additional Ground Forces and PDS units.

I actually feel these might be a bit lackluster, but correct me if I'm wrong. They seem rather situational and uninspiring, if thematically correct. I love the Nebula racial ability, really, but it's highly situational, and coupled with the Dropships, it doesn't seem to live up to the other race's abilities. In my opinion.

No, you're absolutely right. This is the other race that was underpowered, and I still don't think they're equal to the rest. Though the Citadel is a Nebula so they have an advantage when attacking it (which is appropriate given the events of ME1). I thought of making them immune to Plague and X-89. I also at one point gave them this power: "Neural Network: Whenever you drawn an Action Card, you may draw two, keep one and place the other at the bottom of the draw pile." Would it be too good to give it back to them?

Racial Tech: Invasion Pods (5 resources) - During your turn, you may choose to execute planetary landings and invasion combat before the Space Battle step

Pure genius. I love this one for the cost and for its thematic effect.

Thanks! Although a friend pointed out how a suicide Carrier could do a hell of a lot of damage given a small escort to stop space PDS fire. I think though that would be a good reason to build up your PDS grid to keep this from happening. It might also be smart to say you don't get to bombard when you use this ability, which makes sense.
 



#10 Iorveth

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Posted 23 August 2011 - 02:27 AM

obsidian said:

This tech was initially conceived after a comment in version 1 that the Asari had nothing going for them militarily. And indeed, in the first playtest, the Turians beat the snot out of them. They had some back luck politically and could never get the value from their excellent trades. However, I take your point about turtleing/stalling. If it were changed I think I'd keep it free and eliminate the exhaust ability. Or, perhaps it could be used as an action, spending a CC from CP and getting both powers? That way it can be used more aggressively

I like the last option best; by making it into an action and putting a cost on it, you retain its power while balancing it a bit and allowing the Asari a powerful stall-mechanic, which can be powerful in the hands of the right player. If they keep getting stomped in playtests you could consider giving them an additional starting tech that is on the path to Hyper Metabolism to keep in line with the theme of "power at a (CC) cost".

obsidian said:

ADT specifically refers to Destroyers, so the Cruisers would not receive the bonus. Salarians also don't start with any red techs so it will take some effort to get to ADT for uber-fighter-destruction. If this ability were too powerful it could be limited to a single precombat die against Fighters. Thematically this is due to a passage in the Codex under GARDIAN lasers that says Salarians use short wavelength lasers to have extra time to stop fighters/incoming missiles.

Thing is, with such heavy cruiser/destroyer emphasis on the race, it would be natural to go Hylar -> ADT -> Racial tech as soon as possible; the gain is simply far too high to ignore (imo), especially considering the lack of War Suns in the universe. While 2-die Dreads make up for it slightly, they lack movement speed still, making fighter screens and destroyers the primary bread'n'butter units. I'd consider actually putting a replacement technology for Dreadnaughts into the old War Sun's position. Possibly either a +1 movement speed and thus redesign Type IV Drive to maybe boost Cruiser space mines, thus making Type IV into a Cruiser-emphasizing tech and keeping the Dreadnaught techs primarily within Red tech territory.

obsidian said:

My previous idea was to somehow include the Special Tasks Group in the Salarians powers, but I couldn't figure out a good one. I thought of giving them the ability to mimic a Sabotage by spending a CC from SA, once per round. Too good?

Too good imo. It is, if memory serves, an expensive racial tech that Xxcha possesses in SotT. Do you intend to use only 1 Racial tech, or are you open to additional? 'coz it'd be an obvious target for an additional race tech. If you want a more low-key thematic advantage that reflects the Special Forces, you could consider making Salarian GF's turn into Shock Troopers on both 9 and 10.

obsidian said:

I was also thinking about their scientific ability only giving the +1 and not working while exhausted. Techs would be free with 3 planets of the same color, and that might be too much.

I'll steer clear of this one as my gaming group haven't used it for the past 8 years; we generally run 12+ hour sessions (getting harder as we're getting older, but uni is still somewhat forgiving), and during the late hours we found that it was something that didn't add that much to the game. But that's just us, I can definitely see the point.

 obsidian said:

* Declare War: During the strategy phase, you may spend 1 Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation pool to choose a player. You gain a +1 to all combat rolls against that player this round.

Before or after Strategy Cards are chosen? I'd imagine the guy whom has just been declared war on would like to pick diplomacy, provided he got the chance

I think leave it up to the Turian player. If he wants to broadcast it at the start of the phase, fine. If he wants to wait until all SC are picked, better!

I can see the point in this, but coupled with Warfare II SC it will make the Turian player powerful beyond reason, especially if he throws a morale boost into the mix. Thematically, you could argue that an ability akin to "whenever you engage in space battle, your opponent may never retreat"  would fit into their total-war doctrine as well. Or you could consider giving their Cruisers +1, essentially making them into Dreadnaughts to reflect the Turian propensity for superior firepower, though I'm not feeling this ability is quite right somehow.

At any rate, I agree with your thematic reasons; I just think there are some complications with the "Declare War" ability, and that it feels a bit too much like a Public Execution, lining one player up for some serious punishment out of the blue.

obsidian said:

In v1 this ability was that the Krogan can build ST instead of GF at a cost of 1 resource, and they were one of the two races nobody wanted to play in the test. I took that as a critique of their weakness, but maybe I've gone too far the other way. It's easy enough to balance though, I think. Simply lower the limit from 12 to 9 or 8 or whatever seems better, and raise the cost of the race tech. I initially did exclude the green GF techs but it's a lot of verbage to include on the imaginary card I may someday actually print! Is there a simple way to phrase that? What if they didn't get the +1, just the sustain? They're supposed to be very hard to kill.

The sustain ability is fine if you remove the +1 in my opinion. Disallowing MU's and making Gen and Dacxive not apply to them seems fine as well. The Krogans are strong fighters, aye, but almost every major civilization in the ME galaxy seem to sport their own elite combat unit. One way of incorporating the Krogan Battlemasters could be: "When in the presence of one of your Generals, your Krogan soldiers gain an additional +1, for a total of +2 to all combat rolls"? And then add "You may at any time revive a dead General in your home system for X resources" to reflect their cloning project (½ year since I played ME2, but I'm sure you remember how Grunt was acquired).

obsidian said:

Racial Tech: Kinetic Impacters (4 resources) During planetary bombardments, you may spend a Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation area to destroy half of the opposing Ground Forces.

I'm a bit torn on this one. It's thematically alright, arguably, and it's cool for its cost, but I fear it may trivialize technologies such as X-89 Bacterial Weapon. I think it'd work better if they had something akin to the Yin's conversion ability, to reflect that their Slaver-oriented focus.

When I was toying with these races, they did have the Yin conversion power, but I moved away from it in the interest of originality. You're right that it's very similar to X-89, but honestly, I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen that tech actually used. Batarians start a long way away from it, too, so this is a similar method of getting to the same place. I thought of saying their DN/CR get an automatic hit or something like that but I couldn't think of a good way to balance it. Any other suggestions?

You could consider going in a different direction and giving them Transfabrication, Enviro, Sarween and X-89 Bacterial Weapon from the start. Then do the following: "Before invasion combat, you may pay X TG to convert Y amount of opposing Ground Forces to your cause". While it may not be as thematically strong as your original suggestion, it would possibly encourage some fun and dynamic playstyle with which Micro Technology, Integrated Economy and perhaps even Transit Diodes might be picked.

My primary fear is that the Batarians would infringe on the Ground-combat territory of certain other races, but it was just a stray thought. I'm honestly not sure of a good approach to the Batarians.

obsidian said:

Geth Network

* Behind the Perseus Veil: You may ignore the movement restrictions of Nebulas. Your opponents do not gain the +1 bonus to their combat rolls while defending against you inside a Nebula.
* Dropships: Your Ground Forces are immune to PDS fire during Invasion Combat. After the bombardment step of an Invasion Combat, you may choose to land additional Ground Forces and PDS units.

I actually feel these might be a bit lackluster, but correct me if I'm wrong. They seem rather situational and uninspiring, if thematically correct. I love the Nebula racial ability, really, but it's highly situational, and coupled with the Dropships, it doesn't seem to live up to the other race's abilities. In my opinion.

No, you're absolutely right. This is the other race that was underpowered, and I still don't think they're equal to the rest. Though the Citadel is a Nebula so they have an advantage when attacking it (which is appropriate given the events of ME1). I thought of making them immune to Plague and X-89. I also at one point gave them this power: "Neural Network: Whenever you drawn an Action Card, you may draw two, keep one and place the other at the bottom of the draw pile." Would it be too good to give it back to them?

 

Seems like a good addition. At least it's versatile and seems thematically acceptable to the Geth. Another approach could (also) be to make Mechanized Units more powerful for them in some way or another; the Geth is pretty much all about those big wonky Apertures and whatnot :)

 



#11 obsidian

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:56 PM

Iorveth said:

obsidian said:

 

This tech was initially conceived after a comment in version 1 that the Asari had nothing going for them militarily. And indeed, in the first playtest, the Turians beat the snot out of them. They had some back luck politically and could never get the value from their excellent trades. However, I take your point about turtleing/stalling. If it were changed I think I'd keep it free and eliminate the exhaust ability. Or, perhaps it could be used as an action, spending a CC from CP and getting both powers? That way it can be used more aggressively

 

I like the last option best; by making it into an action and putting a cost on it, you retain its power while balancing it a bit and allowing the Asari a powerful stall-mechanic, which can be powerful in the hands of the right player. If they keep getting stomped in playtests you could consider giving them an additional starting tech that is on the path to Hyper Metabolism to keep in line with the theme of "power at a (CC) cost".

Well, it wouldn't really be a stall if it comes from CP, but coming from SA would probably make more sense. I would probably say it needs to be limited to once per round, as well.

Iorveth said:

obsidian said:

 

ADT specifically refers to Destroyers, so the Cruisers would not receive the bonus. Salarians also don't start with any red techs so it will take some effort to get to ADT for uber-fighter-destruction. If this ability were too powerful it could be limited to a single precombat die against Fighters. Thematically this is due to a passage in the Codex under GARDIAN lasers that says Salarians use short wavelength lasers to have extra time to stop fighters/incoming missiles.

 

Thing is, with such heavy cruiser/destroyer emphasis on the race, it would be natural to go Hylar -> ADT -> Racial tech as soon as possible; the gain is simply far too high to ignore (imo), especially considering the lack of War Suns in the universe. While 2-die Dreads make up for it slightly, they lack movement speed still, making fighter screens and destroyers the primary bread'n'butter units. I'd consider actually putting a replacement technology for Dreadnaughts into the old War Sun's position. Possibly either a +1 movement speed and thus redesign Type IV Drive to maybe boost Cruiser space mines, thus making Type IV into a Cruiser-emphasizing tech and keeping the Dreadnaught techs primarily within Red tech territory.

Perhaps the ability could be defensive rather than offensive? For each Cruiser you have in a combat, you may cancel one hit of your opponent's Anti-Fighter Barrage, maybe? Or "Your opponents roll -2 to their Anti-Fighter Barrage?" As to Warsun, I'm not sure I want to mess with the tech tree. I do worry about making DSC more useful but I think PDS in general are more useful with 2-die DN leading to more opportunities for bombardment.

Iorveth said:

obsidian said:

 

My previous idea was to somehow include the Special Tasks Group in the Salarians powers, but I couldn't figure out a good one. I thought of giving them the ability to mimic a Sabotage by spending a CC from SA, once per round. Too good?

 

Too good imo. It is, if memory serves, an expensive racial tech that Xxcha possesses in SotT. Do you intend to use only 1 Racial tech, or are you open to additional? 'coz it'd be an obvious target for an additional race tech. If you want a more low-key thematic advantage that reflects the Special Forces, you could consider making Salarian GF's turn into Shock Troopers on both 9 and 10.

Yeah, forgot about the Xxcha ability. I'm only doing 1 RT right now but there is room for more later. One of the Salarian's biggest powers is their spying ability. I'd really like that to be reflected in their abilities somehow, but I can't think of anything good.  I initially gave them the Yssaril spy ability, but again, I abandoned it in favor of something more original. I think looking at the objective deck is too good and too situational if playing Age of Empires. 

Iorveth said:

obsidian said:

 

* Declare War: During the strategy phase, you may spend 1 Command Counter from your Strategic Allocation pool to choose a player. You gain a +1 to all combat rolls against that player this round.

Before or after Strategy Cards are chosen? I'd imagine the guy whom has just been declared war on would like to pick diplomacy, provided he got the chance

I think leave it up to the Turian player. If he wants to broadcast it at the start of the phase, fine. If he wants to wait until all SC are picked, better!

 

 

I can see the point in this, but coupled with Warfare II SC it will make the Turian player powerful beyond reason, especially if he throws a morale boost into the mix. Thematically, you could argue that an ability akin to "whenever you engage in space battle, your opponent may never retreat"  would fit into their total-war doctrine as well. Or you could consider giving their Cruisers +1, essentially making them into Dreadnaughts to reflect the Turian propensity for superior firepower, though I'm not feeling this ability is quite right somehow.

At any rate, I agree with your thematic reasons; I just think there are some complications with the "Declare War" ability, and that it feels a bit too much like a Public Execution, lining one player up for some serious punishment out of the blue.

When compared to N'orr, it's not that amazing. It costs a CC each time you want to use it and it's only vs one enemy. N'orr has nothing else going for them, though, and the Turians have a lot with their trades and other abilities. What about if instead they could spend a CC from SA for a Morale Boost effect before any round of any combat? It wouldn't be used all the time, but it would help out a lot in big battles.

Iorveth said:

obsidian said:

 

In v1 this ability was that the Krogan can build ST instead of GF at a cost of 1 resource, and they were one of the two races nobody wanted to play in the test. I took that as a critique of their weakness, but maybe I've gone too far the other way. It's easy enough to balance though, I think. Simply lower the limit from 12 to 9 or 8 or whatever seems better, and raise the cost of the race tech. I initially did exclude the green GF techs but it's a lot of verbage to include on the imaginary card I may someday actually print! Is there a simple way to phrase that? What if they didn't get the +1, just the sustain? They're supposed to be very hard to kill.

 

The sustain ability is fine if you remove the +1 in my opinion. Disallowing MU's and making Gen and Dacxive not apply to them seems fine as well. The Krogans are strong fighters, aye, but almost every major civilization in the ME galaxy seem to sport their own elite combat unit. One way of incorporating the Krogan Battlemasters could be: "When in the presence of one of your Generals, your Krogan soldiers gain an additional +1, for a total of +2 to all combat rolls"? And then add "You may at any time revive a dead General in your home system for X resources" to reflect their cloning project (½ year since I played ME2, but I'm sure you remember how Grunt was acquired).

You're right, they all have elite units, but this ability is meant to reflect how all-around tough it is to kill any Krogan warrior. I think having Green techs cost +2 should dissuade GEN Synth and Daxcive. And if a player wants to invest in them that heavily, by all means let them. Cloning is nearly the same as respawning. 

I also think it's a mistake to involve Leaders in racial abilities. Many groups, including mine, don't play with them. Same for every other variant and every expansion component. Better to stick to the basics. I would feel weird disallowing an expansion option as it would weaken the race if the variant is used and do nothing if not used. So maybe having the GF roll +2 in all combats would be better than having them get sustain damage. Maybe I just need to playtest it!

As for Batarians and Geth re: Transfabrication and MU, that would be cool, but again I think it's a bad idea to assume that all groups who may want to use these races would be using those options.



#12 dagokan

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 07:14 AM

obsidian,

good work man!  Mass Effect has a very similar feel to Twilight Imperium, and I love what you've done.

Some thoughts:

Krogans: Keep sustain and +1.  Limit to 9 (this would better reflect a real limit vs 12 as I see it, especially with the availabliity of MU).  Make Krogan greens cost +2

Salarian: Definitely give shock troopers on 9 or 10.

Turians: Overwhelming odds: Make this apply only to dreadnaughts.  This gives them a similar advantage, that becomes negated through their racial tech by becoming permanent.  Or, just have the fleet supply be equal to all unspent CC rather than unlimited, so this becomes something that can give you an advantage but you must manage.

I would venture to say that you need to build representatives to work with Assembly II, OR I would consider building a new Strategy card around Assembly II involving 3 galactic council, and spectres.  This would help bring out the flavor of Mass Effect, without necessarily needing to build 3 representatives per race.  Off the cuff, here is a thought:

Rather than putting in representatives, have the three players with the most untapped influence represent the three top races in the council.  These three each get 1 vote.  (never a tie!)  Being that these three are reps, one of these three must always be the speaker.  Here is the flip flop:

The non-representatives vote on which of the three councilraces becomes speaker.  Each NON REP race can bring forth one Political Card to be voted on.  The council may vote on anywhere from 1 to all proposed legislation.  This means that while the non-reps have to bargain with the reps for votes, the reps have to bargain with the non-reps for speaker.  For extra spice, give each race a spectre that alters the course of this action/dialogue with one use per game.  Additionally, make one of the Geth rules be that they can never be one of the three council races.

Off the cuff thoughts on Spectre powers: +2 votes for one side, choose only one Political Card to be voted on, replace a council race with your own race (if you are not on the council).

In a three player game, active player on Assembly II would choose the speaker and you would draw one card, and each player would offer one card, and you would vote on at least one, or all.  The council would be able to bribe each other in this scenario.

Change Assembly II to Council, and bam! Mass effected!

Just some thoughts!  I wish I played more so that I could convince my group to try a game with house rules, but we play so little I doubt they'd want to venture from the more or less balanced established rules.

Take it easy! Dagokan

 



#13 obsidian

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 02:30 PM

dagokan said:

obsidian,

good work man!  Mass Effect has a very similar feel to Twilight Imperium, and I love what you've done.

Some thoughts:

Krogans: Keep sustain and +1.  Limit to 9 (this would better reflect a real limit vs 12 as I see it, especially with the availabliity of MU).  Make Krogan greens cost +2

Salarian: Definitely give shock troopers on 9 or 10.

Turians: Overwhelming odds: Make this apply only to dreadnaughts.  This gives them a similar advantage, that becomes negated through their racial tech by becoming permanent.  Or, just have the fleet supply be equal to all unspent CC rather than unlimited, so this becomes something that can give you an advantage but you must manage.

I would venture to say that you need to build representatives to work with Assembly II, OR I would consider building a new Strategy card around Assembly II involving 3 galactic council, and spectres.  This would help bring out the flavor of Mass Effect, without necessarily needing to build 3 representatives per race.  Off the cuff, here is a thought:

Rather than putting in representatives, have the three players with the most untapped influence represent the three top races in the council.  These three each get 1 vote.  (never a tie!)  Being that these three are reps, one of these three must always be the speaker.  Here is the flip flop:

The non-representatives vote on which of the three councilraces becomes speaker.  Each NON REP race can bring forth one Political Card to be voted on.  The council may vote on anywhere from 1 to all proposed legislation.  This means that while the non-reps have to bargain with the reps for votes, the reps have to bargain with the non-reps for speaker.  For extra spice, give each race a spectre that alters the course of this action/dialogue with one use per game.  Additionally, make one of the Geth rules be that they can never be one of the three council races.

Off the cuff thoughts on Spectre powers: +2 votes for one side, choose only one Political Card to be voted on, replace a council race with your own race (if you are not on the council).

In a three player game, active player on Assembly II would choose the speaker and you would draw one card, and each player would offer one card, and you would vote on at least one, or all.  The council would be able to bribe each other in this scenario.

Change Assembly II to Council, and bam! Mass effected!

Just some thoughts!  I wish I played more so that I could convince my group to try a game with house rules, but we play so little I doubt they'd want to venture from the more or less balanced established rules.

Take it easy! Dagokan

 

Thanks for the comments! I love the idea for special ME Assembly/Council. My group hasn't played with representatives yet, but hopefully we will soon. I'm curious to see how they work before I try to integrate them into ME.

With the Salarians > Shock Troops, I agree it's a nice fit, but my group doesn't use ST, and I'm sure others don't either. I'd prefer not to use any mechanics that aren't in the base game.



#14 MrGurns

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:17 PM

This is a very late reply, I have been scouring the interwebs for any updates regarding this varient. 

Currently I have created race cards/planets/tiles/cards all in relation to the above information. 

I would like some feedback regarding the above variations and the conclusions based from others who have tried this out. If I get some adequate feedback, i'd be willing to share all the race creations i have made here on this website.

wishing for a response.
>MrGurns

(xpost from BGG)



#15 Tuor

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:24 AM

Hi MrGurns!

 

I'm a french player of TI3 and my friends and me are very interested by your creations! Could you send me race cards/planets/tiles/cards of Mass Effect in a mail? If you could, it will be so cool!
I hope you understand my post but my english is not very good :)

 

Have a nice day!

 

Bastien.



#16 obsidian

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 05:07 PM

MrGurns said:

This is a very late reply, I have been scouring the interwebs for any updates regarding this varient. 

Currently I have created race cards/planets/tiles/cards all in relation to the above information. 

I would like some feedback regarding the above variations and the conclusions based from others who have tried this out. If I get some adequate feedback, i'd be willing to share all the race creations i have made here on this website.

wishing for a response.
>MrGurns

(xpost from BGG)

Unfortunately, due to moving out of state away from my gaming group, and the ti3wiki site remaining crashed, I have never gotten to playtest these races. I hope to have a playtest of them within the next few months, however, and will definitely let you know how it goes.






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