Now that the game has been out for some time I'm really curious about homerules that players crafted for it.
I really like Rex better than Dune and it is sad that it haven't got recognition of Dune player base. That's totally understandable, with Herbert's setting being so awesome, but still. Since there is no expansion, I take with a little sadness that one of my great discoveries of the last year just isn't popular. That got me thinking. What, except for the world, is in Dune that isn't in Rex? After a little research, I started tinkering with some homerules that would add to the areas of the game that I find a bit lacking.
And surely I wasn't the only one. I've discussed strong and weak sides of Rex a lot during this year and many players I played with agreed that this game can use some tweaks to really open up it's potential. I've tested quite a few variants at this point and like to share my current set of additional rules in hope to get some feedback. My goal is not to fix some balance issues, but to create a variant mixture that would add interesting decisions, enrich overall gameplay aesthetics and improve distinguishing aspects of this game which make me play it over many other strategy games (even TI3). All of this applies only to six player games.
Let's start with obvious ones. These two are the most tested and accepted in every playgroup I've proposed them.
Intelligence network and secret diplomacy. Players can write down known strategy and traitor cards and exchange written messages. However, player cannot write, pass or recieve a message on his "turn" (that being in his own Maneuvering Phase or while facing any other decision). To put it simply, conspiring shouldn't slow down the game.
No matter the name, it must flow. Players may exchange influence during the Collection Phase.
Information dealers. During the Bidding Phase, the Jol-Nar can look at all of the cards in the auction, not only the current one, and may show them to any player.
Now for the more controversial ones. These are well tested, but proved to be not to everyone's liking.
Drafting starting strategy cards. Much more interesting than just drawing your starting cards. During setup, the first player draw 7 cards, picks one, while passing the others to the second player and so on. Letnev draws his second card from the deck. The last card is discarded.
Treacherous allies. This variant comprises three rules:
1. Players don't receive betrayal cards during the setup. Instead, when they join an alliance, they draw two and keep one. Letnev should draw three and keep one.
Anytime during his "turn", if the player is currently fulfilling the condition on his betrayal card, he may reveal it to leave an alliance. Doing so gains him an additional traitor card from the deck and forces his former associates to discard one strategy card at random. The other player may immediately answer to this treacherous attempt by revealing his fullfilled betrayal card. In this case the higher number wins. Betrayal can still be used at the end of the game as usual.
2. When joining an alliance, a player who have 2 or less strategy cards in hand should draw 1 strategy card from the deck.
3. During the Temporary Ceasefire players have exactly 2 minutes to create alliances. They cannot exchange written messages during that time. At the end of each Temporary Ceasefire, any player who is not a part of any alliance gain 2 influence.
Starting decisions. Inspired by the Dune expansion that changed starting situation, this variant is intended to add minor thematic decision at the start of the game. Players should make these at the beginning of the first round.
Sol should look and rearrange the top two cards of the influence deck.
Lazax should return any two units from the board to reserves.
Jol-Nar should ask two other players if they have certain type of strategy cards: attack, defense or special. If the player has the card of the declared type, he must show it to Jol-Nar.
Letnev should draw two traitor cards and then discard down to four of them.
Hacan should choose his position in turn order for the first Maneuvering Phase.
Xxcha should freely deploy one of their units to any location.
Frankly, this one is least playtested, but so far works very well. Effect are still open to changes though, so if you have something more thematically appropriate for the faction, please let me know.
Playing with this variants proved to be very enjoyable in my playgroups and developing them made the Rex one of my favorite games. But since we won't see an expansion any time soon, I don't think I should stop there. Right now, I'm thinking about appropriateness of events. Also, traitor cards could be more strategic and some more decisions around them may be useful. If you have some variants in this directions, I'm also very interested in them.