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Homebrew Races

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#1 Goggerz



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Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:28 AM

For a while now, my T.I. group has been introducing homebrew rules. We have played with several different ideas and have just recently played with one friend's created strategy cards with much success in some areas and the need to redo some others. I have already had a few ideas for races but right now I greatly want to join this, do any of you have any ideas for races, or have a formula you've worked up to keep to a more balanced race? I am thinking about posting one or two of my races up here to get opinions on the matter but they are still under debate with my group and until they've settled on a consensus I don't want to get hasty.

Thanks for any help any of you can provide, cheers!

#2 tabooger



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Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:54 AM

 This is a fascinating idea and a way to really put your own spin on things.  I love coming up with flavor for games.  Homebrew races is probably the best way to tweak your gameplay without getting game-breaking, which is easy to do when re-writing strategy or action cards.  However, the possibility still exists for unbalancing things, so be very very careful what you write down.


You've made me want to write up some race creation guidelines.... I'll be back after reading through the different racial abilities to get a sense of  what determines balance.

#3 jboweruk



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Posted 29 January 2012 - 11:56 AM

Now this is a project I shall be watching with interest. Please post the results those of you who try this, I'd love to see any formulae you write to keep it balanced. I would love to use the Warhammer 40K races for my own games, as I'm substituting TI3 races for them at the moment.

#4 melkor977



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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:46 PM

Don't try to make the 'ultimate race', if its too good, and EVERYONE wants to be them ALL THE TIME then they're unbalanced....like a certain tribe I could mention....

#5 BigKahuna



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Posted 14 February 2012 - 08:47 PM

I have created a couple of races that I have used in games that have worked out quite well.  One in particular was based on the Aliens race from the Aliens movies.  There was a guy who created a layered template for creating the race cards themselves, he was kind enough to email them to me.  I will see if I can find them for you, I think if I remember right they where done in paintshop pro.

In any case as a general golden rule for creating races you should always shoot for something that doesn't already exist thematically, which is kind of tougher since most general concepts have already been done between the core game and the two expansions.  Also to create a new race today with the two expansions you have a lot more balancing to do than before.

In any case just some suggestions that I got when I started doing this, which helped me a lot.

Start with a good theme that gives the race a unique ability that doesn't trump or do worse than an already existing race.  Another words we already have technology driven races, we already have combat races, we already have trade races.  Avoid making races that do something better or worse than an existing one.

Don't break the status quo.  Its not a good idea to give a race 5 starting technologies, or a trade contract with a 5.  The limitations set by previous races shouldn't be broken which is something I was doing when I first started and it always ended badly.

Avoid focusing a race too much on a single concept.  Its not terribly fun to play a race that is only good at one thing like combat. One of the worse races in the core game is broken because of this one idea (Sardek N'orr).  Races should have a theme but enough diversity that they aren't locked into a particular play style.

Create a race with the latest expansion in mind.  Using just the core rules its going to be tough to come up with a theme that hasn't already been done with the core races but when you start thinking about some of the components in the expansions things open up.  For example a race that takes advantage of Mercanaries somehow, or a race that has some kind of ability associated with the gravity rift.  It might be cool to have a race that embodies some kind of special ability to do with representatives.  These mechanics right now with the current races don't really have any races with special abilities associated with them so I think its a good place to find a theme and ability.

One concept I have tried to work out but have never been very successful is to create a race with a racial theme of "pirates", with abilities that steal trade goods, political cards and/or action cards from other players.  Each time I have tried they kind of came out underwhelming or over powered.  But I like it from a thematic perspective.

Good luck to ya and definitly post your work.  Some of my favorite variants that my group plays with have come from the community.


#6 Shadow



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Posted 15 February 2012 - 05:35 PM

Making a homebrew race

Theretically all races should be roughly even at turn 3 or 4 in military strength and planets in a play test.       

Turn 3 or 4 is midgame. 

If the race is always struggling to stay alive at turn 4, that race cannot set up conditions to win the end game.

If the race is always dominating the game at turn 4, that race is too broken.


Also check out how the original races were made, there is a pattern there if you look for it.


#7 Count Jondi

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:29 AM

if anyone makes a homebrew race: Could you post it here somehow? it would be facsinating to see them.

#8 Bowoodstock



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Posted 21 February 2012 - 02:00 AM

I have one or two that I've been wroking on, will post them when I have a better idea of their specifics.  They're pretty thematic, and they work with the lore I think.

#9 Shadow



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Posted 21 February 2012 - 04:01 AM

Remember, the biggest mistake for "Homebrew Races" is the race cannot be great at everything. The race should be great in some areas but weak in others.


If the race is designed well, the better you play the race according to its "theme", the better the race should do.

But, on turn 3 or 4, they should be consistently roughly even with the other races in the galaxy in numbers of planets and military strength.


Some homebrew race guidelines

Strong military, then slow moving   L1Z1x, Barony

Big trade agreements means the race needs to bribe for peace at one border   Muaat, Jolnar,

Fast expansion generally means NO red techs, the race has weak military ships  Saar, Yssaril

Strong race ability, then the race can get nerfed by attacking them early.  Winnu, Jolnar

Influence homeworlds means nice race ability, but small or weak military. XXcha, Sol

Medium resource homeworlds means nice race ability but a major weakness, Norr, Saar

Sarween tools is given to races to tip them into gold techs like micro  Hacan, Muaat


The designer has done a consistent pattern with his races if you look for it, and just about all his races are successful

......If that race is played according to  that races "theme"   




#10 jboweruk



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Posted 23 February 2012 - 11:19 PM

Nice, thanks for posting these guidelines, I may work on the 40k races tomorrow/Monday, if I think they are worth looking at I'll stick 'em up here for all to see.

#11 Bowoodstock



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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:28 AM

In regards to my previous mentioned homebrew races...got a question that I'm hoping someone could answer.


If I were to create a homebrew and name it after something that has already appeared in game, for example, the Sarween, would I have to get FFG permission to post it here?  I really don't want to step on anyone's toes as far as copyright goes.

#12 melkor977



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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:45 AM

Bowoodstock said:

In regards to my previous mentioned homebrew races...got a question that I'm hoping someone could answer.


If I were to create a homebrew and name it after something that has already appeared in game, for example, the Sarween, would I have to get FFG permission to post it here?  I really don't want to step on anyone's toes as far as copyright goes.

I don't think it would be. The forum is for players to share ideas and ask questions on, so I wouldn't see anything wrong with that. If you started selling copies of your 'Sarween' race than it would definatly infringe on FFG's copyright. As for posting a free download on another website and posting the link here, i don't honestly know. I would doubt it though.

#13 Bowoodstock



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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:29 PM


Here's the first one.  It's unfinished, and I haven't had the chance to playtest it, but thought I'd give others a chance.  The "theme" behind these guys is that they can use a resource no one else is capable of exploiting; space with absolutely nothing in it.  They come from deep space, and so have adaptations to live with little to no resources.  By sacrificing fleet movement, the noctus can gain resources to build that turn.  If opposing players allow them to seed the galaxy with harvester ships, they will quickly snowball into a resource giant that can rake in resources almost faster than they can use them. 

Strengths: Resource accumulation and navigation through normally hazardous space

Weaknesses: Weak starting fleet, no red techs


Noctus Voidfarers


In the middle of the raging conflicts of the twilight wars, barely anyone noticed the darkness blotting out the stars at the edge of the galaxy.  The tenebrous Darkstar Fleet arrived with little fanfare or announcement.  In the years following the conflict, reports filtered in about unusual ships that were blacker than space, never attacking, but clearly observing.  Finally, near the end of the Nekro wars a strange black ship slipped into Mecatol space without tripping any of the sensors.  It wasn't until it had landed in the courtyard in front of the grand council chamber that anyone realized they had a visitor.  As guards from the various delegations scrambled to ready weapons, a single masked figure robed entirely in black strode into the council chamber.  Seemingly unfazed by the pandemonium, the figure spread black gloved hands to show that it was unarmed.  In a voice that somehow resounded throughout the chamber like a whispering wind, it introduced itself as a representative of the Noctus, a people from outside the reaches of this galaxy.  Traveling in the massive Darkstar Fleet, an armada of colony ships with enough mass to rival a small moon, they sought a new home after millenia of travel from the depths of space.  Finding this galaxy in dire need of repair, it requested that they be allowed to assist in the repairs in return for colonies on the worlds they salvaged.  On such short notice, few were able to offer any compelling reason to deny this request, and the figure returned to the strange black ship just as silently as it had arrived.  In the aftermath of the meeting, many council members were left confused as to just what had exactly happened.  Only a few thought to pose the question of just why the Noctus had been exiled from their previous home.

Unheard by any in the council chamber, prior to entering the black spacecraft, the figure had turned and surveyed the ruins of the great capital planet.  "Yes..." it whispered to itself.  "Dire need of repair indeed..."



For the purposes of the Noctus, any system that is red-bordered,
contains no planets, or contains a wormhole is considered a " spacial

Red bordered systems are treated as normal space for the purposes of
movement only.  Other effects are resolved normally, supernovae are
still impassable, and fleets may still not end movement in asteroid

Noctus fleets may execute a strategic retreat without paying a strategy
counter if the destination system is a spacial anomaly.  They must still activate the system via reserve counters

Noctus fleets may declare dark matter harvesting at the beginning of
the strategy phase. The noctus player may place 2 dark matter counters
in any spacial anomaly systems containing at least one Noctus
non-fighter ship.  These systems are not considered activated, but the
harvesting ships may not move this round.  The counters
may be spent as resources normally.If the harvesting fleet is destroyed
before the counters are spent, they are lost.  All unused
dark matter is lost at the end of the next status phase

Starting tech

Enviro Compensator
Stasis Capsules
Light/Wave Deflectors

Starting Fleet

2 Carriers
2 Fighters
3 GF
1 Cruiser
1 Spacedock


The Darkstar Fleet

3/3 Red border. System has no special rules other than as applies to the noctus racial, and during setup red border systems may still be played adjacent to the Darkstar fleet

Leaders: Diplomat, Scientist, Admiral

Trades: 2/2

Racial Technologies

Harvester Probes: +4 resources

Noctus fleets may harvest dark matter from
adjacent systems.  There must be at least
one non-fighter ship present per system harvested,
and systems containing enemy ships may
not be harvested from.   Loss of harvesting ships will still result in loss of dark matter, and havesting fleets must still remain stationary for the round.

Dark Matter Reactor: +3 resources

Noctus ships gain +1 on
combat rolls when fighting in a spacial anomaly,
and gain +1 to movement and combat rolls if they
begin their activation inside a spacial anomally.


Black Nova

Sustain Damage

Cost: 12
Move: 1
Combat: 6x2
Carry: 4

The Black Nova gains 2 additional attacks
when fighting inside a spacial anomaly, and
may purchase up to 4 additional attacks by spending dark
matter on a 1 for 1 basis



Still working on ideas for the representatives.  As I said, it hasn't been play tested so I have yet to see if any of the ideas are over/under powered.  I'm open to suggestions

#14 Bowoodstock



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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:07 PM

Sorry, to clarify one thing.  The 2nd racial tech should include "These two effects do not stack"

#15 Shadow



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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:46 AM

A well designed race should be roughly equal in military strength and planets at turn 4 with the other players races. 

Your new race is designed to NOT be balanced.

Quote:  If opposing players allow them to seed the galaxy with harvester ships, they will quickly snowball into a resource giant that can rake in resources almost faster than they can use them.

So by turn 4, this race is unstoppable unless the entire galaxy attacks it right away.

Do not design a race to be too strong or too weak.

Your homebrew race is a juggernaught.

Major mistakes:

1. The race starts with LIghtwave defectors and stasis capsules?

So on turn 1, take Warfare II and invade player's homeworlds. The game is over on turn 1.

2. Can create resources out of nothing.....really?

So there is no way to stop this race's production?

3. 2 carriers/1 crusier with stasis capsules. So you can capture all your available planets on turn 1?

When you make a race and start with the idea that the race is going to be too strong or too weak, that race will end up that way.


Start with the idea that the race will be BALANCED, and you will do ok.




#16 Bowoodstock



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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:01 AM

I disagree with a lot of your points, they indicate you haven't actually read what I posted in depth.


1. No XRD to start, and only 3 starting ground forces.  If they decide to tap their home system the first round for resources, they aren't going anywhere, as the ability prevents any and all movement out of that system.  The only way they can capture more than 3 planets is via strategy.  I've easily captured 5 planets in 3 different systems on the first turn with other races, so I disagree that this is overpowered.  How does lightwave deflectors permit a race to invade a homesystem on turn 1 with just a cruiser and 2 carriers? I admit that tech may be a little much, but the most powerful ship they start with is a cruiser without Hylar V

2. It's easy to stop the resource harvesting, it is NOT impossible to stop them.  Read what the ability is and you'll see what I mean.  They can only do it in certain systems.  To say they can't be stopped from harvesting is like complaining a person can't be stopped from exhausting a planet to get its resources.  Just take out the harvesting ship.  It's a heck of a lot easier than capturing a planet.  Don't forget, they'd have to spend command counters to get ships into position, and single ships are easy to take out if they're on their own.  Moreover, their second racial tech can be blocked simply by having an enemy ship in the system.

And again, these resources aren't "free".  You still have to spend the counter to activate a system to get a fleet there, and then next round it can do nothing but sit there and defend itself.  With planets at least you can invade one turn, and then the very next turn pick them up and invade another one with the same ground forces, and yet you still get the resources on that planet.  The aim of their racial is that they basically can turn empty systems into 2/0 planets as long as a ship is present.  Unlike a planet, you are unable to build PDS or space docks, and you cannot defend them with ground forces in addition to your fleet.


3. I have no idea what you mean about a plastic piece that only they use.

#17 Bowoodstock



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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:11 AM

Deleted double reply

#18 Shadow



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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:43 AM

Round 1.

You can have 2 or 3 crusiers because of Assembly and Production secondaries.

(You take a high resource double planet  system and refresh it with Assembly and build using the Production strategy card.)


Round 2. 

Your race will have a fleet of cruisers that has stasis capsules and Lightwave deflectors.

If you take Warfare II , you could attack just about any spot on the board.

Toss in that you may have a Flank Speed card, no one would be safe.

That is too powerful.




#19 Bowoodstock



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Posted 29 February 2012 - 08:45 AM

Then howabout the following amendments?

Replace cruiser with a destroyer

Until the pre-requisites of Light/wave deflector are met, only fleets containing just 1 ship may use the technology


In a recent game I played as the winnu, I did exactly the scenario you just posed, though I did it with production rather than warfare.  At the end of round 1, I had 5 planets.  It's possible for just about any race to do it, especially terran, so I don't consider that an indication of overpowered.


Also, you cannot balance a race on what a person MAY have done.  A muaat player MAY have a flank speed card on the 2nd turn, or they MAY take warfare, and after they take a system to their left or right on turn one after they MAY have used the assembly secondary to refresh.  They MAY have gotten technology II on the first turn and MAY have bought both hylar V and deep space cannon in the first turn using the refreshed planets and their homeworld.   They MAY have then used the leadership secondary to buy strategy counters and use them to build destroyers , they're within 2 spaces of an enemy homeworld, and they MAY just swoop in and take it with their war sun backed by 2 destroyers, 4 fighters and 2 ground forces.

See what I mean?

#20 Shadow



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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:42 AM

You are underestimating the power of being able to threaten all systems on the board. 

1 Cruisier with stasis capsules and Lightwave defectors will have the same effect on the board as the threat of a Local Unrest card.

The threat of local unrest, forces all players to put 2 ground troops on their space docks and best planets.

Winnu's race ability is to guard against this threat, so he only needs 1 ground troop on a planet.


Your 1 crusier does even better then a Local unrest card, you threaten unguarded homeworlds.  You will force most players to always leave 2 or 3 ground troops on their homeworlds and best planets. 

That would be a huge race ability.


Many players like the strategy of a "wall of ships" at the front lines and little to nothing of ground troops or ships behind this wall.

Your 1 Lightwave crusier will force them to put 2 o 3 ground troops on every planet they own.

Some players would probably build all their pds and buy Deep Space cannons to nerf this threat.

Those players would have to turtle several turns before they would move their fleet


But players that like to turtle would not care, because they like to build pds and ground troops on all their planets. 

This threat would force more players into the "Turtle" strategy. 

Wouldn't that be a fun game....


As far as maybes and mays.

How many players refuse to take a hit on their Dreads in fear of a Direct Hit Card?

The possiblities are low of that happening but .... "Just the possibility" is enough for players to alter their gameplay.

Many players absolutely hate Minefields because it "just might" blow the carrier with the ground troops.

The odds of that happening is also very low. 


You will find in designing a race, that some of these "Innocent abilities" that players give their race are in fact, quite, quite powerful.

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