This time Rainer Åhlfors takes us on a more detailed tour of the Leaders appearing in the Event Horizon expansion for Exodus: Proxima Centauri, and with the Kickstarter campaign unlocking more and more content, there is a lot to talk about…
The Leaders of the Exodus Universe
The Leader module came about as a very natural addition to the Exodus game experience. I love asymmetry and player powers, things that make me different from other players, while still maintaining game balance.
The rules are simple: Each Leader provides a unique benefit during the game. During setup, each player is dealt two random Leader cards from which they choose one to keep.
But once you take a closer look at the various Leader roles, you quickly realize the subtle but powerful impact each Leader can have on the game and your overall strategy.
Commander, Admiral, and Governor
Each of these Leaders is simple and straight-forward. You receive a 2 CP discount whenever researching a Technology of a given type (Civilian, Military, or Transport). This is a significant boost which will allow a player to obtain higher tier techs faster than their opponents. A focused strategy centered around a specific Technology type can start working for you much sooner and more effectively. Alternatively, these Leaders can simply boost the efficiency of any type of balanced strategy. Overall, flexible and useful abilities.
Scientist, Engineer, and Visionary
These Leaders each provide a start-of-game benefit — free minor Technology plus a choice of a few additional starting resources; two additional ships; one Standard Action to be taken before the game begins. How will you utilize these benefits? While it can be difficult to envision the impact of an early-game advantage, when properly utilized, you can stay one or two actions ahead of your opponents which can make a crucial difference later in the game.
Celebrity and Politician
Two Leaders that could not be any more different!
The Celebrity represents a sure-fire no-frills 5 VP at the end of the game. That’s it! Yet, at the same time, this is an incredibly attractive choice. With the Celebrity, you do not need to alter your overall strategy or worry about whether you are making the most out of your chosen Leader.
The Politician, on the other hand, represents opportunity and taking charge of the unknown. If you select this Leader, you are committing yourself to taking charge of the political aspects of the game. The Council Stage is your domain! The Politician’s ability reads:
“During each Council Stage, up to 5 CP of your bid counts double. Additionally, any tied bid (of 1 CP or higher), in which you are involved, is broken in your favor.”
Simply put — whether voting during the Political Decision step of the Council Stage, or bidding for Turn Order during the Elections step, your bid is more influential than everyone else’s. If you bid 1 CP, it counts as 2 CP (but you only pay 1 CP), a bid of 5 CP counts as 10 CP (though you only pay 5 CP), and a bid of 6 CP counts as 11 CP (since only up to 5 CP of your bid counts as double; you still only pay 6 CP). What impact can this have on the game? To be honest — “it depends.” First of all, it is impossible to know which options will be presented during each Political Decision step. Second, you can still be outbid.
“Why not just give the Politician a 5 CP discount when voting/bidding?”
Because the current ability is more thematic and adds to the intrigue of politics! If you don’t bid at all, then the Politician ability has no effect. The more you bid, the more you utilize the Politician’s power. On the other hand, why bid 5 CP if 1 CP will suffice? Then again, 5 CP counts as 10 CP, whereas 1 CP only counts as 2 CP. However, because the other players know that your lower bids are more efficient, will they simply abstain, knowing you would likely vote for the same option as them, or simply let you “waste” your bid on an option you are likely to win anyway?
The Politician can really shape the game by nudging the politics in your favor. But this Leader also comes with no guarantees!
The rest of the crew! — Industrialist, Negotiator, Diplomat, Strategist, Tactician, Merchant, Commissioner, Magistrate … and more?
Most of the Leaders allow you to “break” one of the rules of the game — collect 6 CP instead of 5 from your CP planets; use an already-taken Reaction at the cost of precious Population; gain 1 VP whenever other players use the Reaction on your Action Card; gain additional VP when you win a battle against another player; roll an extra die when you control two Ships of the same type participating in the same battle; always Trade at the left most Market slot rates; your War Cruisers cost less; use Civilian Ships before the Mount Population step of each Conquest Stage …
The rules for the Leader module are simple and straight-forward. But you are in complete charge of your own destiny and how you shape your empire based on your chosen Leader!
Would you like to help us make Exodus: Event Horizon even better? The campaign is still live, so you can go here to pledge. And if you want to know more about the expansion’s content, you can check out yesterday’s update about the Planets of Event Horizon.