Reaching the Horizon: Module Interactions

As the number of elements you can customize your Event Horizon grows with every Stretch Goal of its Kickstarter campaign, you might be wondering how different modules interact. To give you a bit of an idea Rainer Åhlfors, the lead designer of Event Horizon, gives you a pretty detailed walkthrough.

Module Interactions

Exodus: Event Horizon is comprised of 10 different modules and two full scenarios, one of which is divided into three separate game modes — cooperative, semi-cooperative, and solo.

The modular concept has, of course, been around for a while and has been used by many other games in the past. There are several pros and cons to modular expansions.

Pros:

• You, the player, can freely mix and match the modules to customize the experience exactly to your liking.
• The modules can be introduced gradually, thereby making the rules easier to learn and remember.
• More variety, more options, more replayability.

Cons:

• If the designer is not careful, modules can inadvertently overlap, affecting the same game play aspect in incompatible ways.
• Some modules may work great independently, but not when combined with others (and vice versa).
• The risk of adding complexity at a faster rate than the added modules enhance the game experience.
• Sometimes modules alter or remove basic mechanisms in favor of introducing new ones.

I will go on record saying that Event Horizon manages to take advantage of all the pros of modularity, while completely avoiding all of the cons. Of course, the cons are avoidable, through careful design and thorough play testing.

Hundreds upon hundreds of hours have been poured into Exodus: Event Horizon, in order to make it the best expansion it can be. The final product was considered every step of the way. Rules were written alongside development of game mechanisms. Design, development, proof-reading, editing, play testing, feedback, editing, additional development, more editing, more play testing, more feedback, more development, etc., etc., etc. …

Independent module design

Each module, from initial concept to final version, was designed and developed as a stand-alone module. No module was ever designed or developed with the idea of what it might add to the game if combined with modules X and Y. Each module can stand on its own, or alongside the others. It doesn’t matter if you will play with one, some, none, or all of the modules introduced in Event Horizon. Together, they form a seamless whole. Removing one does not create a void or leave the game experience lopsided.

Event Horizon as a whole

Direct module interaction has been limited to the Game Setup section of each module. This ensures that you never have re-learn any rules when mixing and matching modules with one another! The modules never overlap or interact with the same game element or game mechanism at the same time! There are no awkward instances where an effect or ability will have unintended results!

Let us examine the case of Centaurian Outposts (M3), Exploration (M4), and New Planets (M5).

As you may recall from previous updates:

• Centaurian Outposts adds Outpost tokens to every planet except players’ starting planets.
• Exploration has all hexes, except for the central hex and players’ Home Planets, begin play face down.
• New Planets adds new planet types to those used in the game.

In the Game Setup rules for Exploration (M4) we therefore read:

Then, in the Game Setup rules for New Planets (M5) we read:

Now, this may be an extreme example. Fortunately, it is also the only such example! Should you need a quick reminder, simply refer to individual module rules during game setup, knowing that everything is covered there.

Cohesion of Event Horizon

Designing Event Horizon was not an exercise in trying to throw “everything but the kitchen sink” into the game. Instead, it came about from an earnest desire to enhance the gaming experience for everyone while staying true to the spirit of the Exodus universe and the marvelous game that started it all — Exodus: Proxima Centauri.

Where new modules and new steps were added, it was critical to ensure a natural fit without disrupting the experience existing fans of Exodus are familiar with. However, with so many modules, touching every aspect of the game experience, keeping everything straight can seem overwhelming at first.

Rest assured that each module was carefully designed to fit as naturally into existing rules as possible, mimicking similar mechanisms, following the same general turn order, whatever it might be.

As a reminder, here are the 10 modules, in the order they appear in the expansion:

Bonus Actions (M1)
Challenge Level: 0/5

Centaurian Resistance (M2)
Challenge Level: 3/5

Centaurian Outposts (M3)
Challenge Level: 4/5

Exploration (M4)
Challenge Level: 3/5

New Planets (M5)
Challenge Level: 1/5

Proxima Centauri (M6)
Challenge Level 2/5

Jump Gates (M7)
Challenge Level: 1/5

Communication Satellites (M8)
Challenge Level: 1/5

Energy Barriers (M9)
Challenge Level: 1/5

Leaders (M10)
Challenge Level: 1/5

Thinking back on previous updates and the massive amount of new content that Event Horizon adds to the game, it is no wonder that a lot of people have been asking for an updated player aid. We always knew that one would be necessary. In a recent update we also teased the fact that we have been working on one.

As a special preview for all you wonderful backers:

The reverse side will additionally contain any steps introduced in the Edge of Extinction expansion. This also offered us a good solution for the placement of the Jump Gate and Communication Satellite blueprints (repeated on both sides).

So, how big would this player aid be?

With this player aid, there should be very few new rules you actually need to memorize. In fact, they are so few that I am going to list them here:

• Bonus Actions — It is recommended that the Vice Chancellor will shuffle and randomly draw six of the Bonus Actions used in the game and make their selection from those six cards.

• Centaurian Outposts — +1 Population each Upkeep Stage! Outpost Combat attack roll: Roll dice equal to 1 + the number of Population you have on the planet. Infrastructure adds 1 die. One or more Fighter ships add 1 die. Quantum Targeting lets you count 4+ as successful hits (instead of the normal 5+).

• Exploration — Reveal a face-down hex as soon as one or more ships end their movement on the face-down hex. Draw and resolve an Event. Place resource dice (and Outposts, if applicable), then proceed as normal.

• Jump Gates — At the end of any Conquest Stage, you may activate one of your Jump Gates to move one or more ships from another hex to that hex.

• Communication Satellites — Owner deals +1 damage (per combat round) in space combat in the hex and receives a +1 bonus to range when launching WMDs from the hex.

• Energy Barriers — Player ships suffer 1 damage when flying through (except Dark Raiders). The barrier applies a -1 penalty to range when firing WMDs through the barrier.

… and that’s pretty much it!

“But what about the new Centaurian Resistance?”

Simply keep the Centaurian Resistance Strength Chart handy next to the three Resistance decks.

“And what about all the new tokens?”

As a general Rule of Thumb — you only need to worry about something when it is in your hex.

For example, Planet Debris and various Event markers — these only apply when the token is in your hex.

Likewise, you do not need to worry about the Outpost markers until you Deploy Population onto a planet. Then, at the end of each Conquest Stage (just like “Deploy Population” happens at the end of each Conquest Stage), you will resolve Centaurian Outpost Combat wherever there is an Outpost and Population.

Recognizing the Play Testers

Numerous play tests (both blind and organized) were conducted in various groups, often mixing three groups of players:

• those who had never before played Exodus
• those who had played Exodus only a few times
• those with intimate knowledge of and experience with Exodus

In some play tests, even with brand new players, all modules were included. In others we tested modules individually or in certain combinations.

When play testing cooperative play, it was important to include players who are fans of cooperative games as well as those who normally dislike them.

If you were one of those who took part in these play tests — a sincere thank you!

You can always find more detailed information on different modules and new elements of the expansion at the Exodus: Event Horizon Kickstarter project page. If you would like to join over 1000 people who decided to support the Kickstarter campaign, and help us make the game better, click any of the images in this post (or click here), and pledge for your own copy of this legendary expansion!

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on RedditShare on VKShare on YummlyShare on TumblrShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorEmail this to someonePrint this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *