Satellites and Space Stations
Satellites and Space Stations introduce a purely logistic operation, which by tactical deployment can give players a distinct strategic advantage. Their inclusion encourages alliances between players and enhances the two-player game.
At the start of the game, each player receives as many satellites as players in the game and half as many (rounded up] space stations.
During a player's turn, instead of the normal challenge, a player many deploy 1 or 2 satellites or 1 space station within the destined (or Dictated) system.
Each planet can support a maximum of 3 satellites.
Each system can support a maximum of 3 space stations.
Each satellite costs 2 lucre to launch.
Each space station costs 3 lucre to launch.
Each satellite is deployed in orbit around any one planet.
Space stations are placed anywhere within the hex space.
Satellites affect only the planet around which they are in orbit and have the effect of plus 2 tokens.
Space stations affect all planets and moons within the same system and have the effect of plus 1 token.
During any one specific challenge, satellites and space stations may be deployed offensively or defensively by a main player or ally at the player's discretion.
Satellites and space stations may be recovered at no cost by players at the conclusion of any challenge but, if deployed again, must be relaunched. Satellites and space stations may be recovered by main players as part of a `deal'.
Satellites and space stations can only be destroyed by Missile Attack or Meteorite Storm, (Edicts), and Meteorite Moon or Comet Crash, (Moons). Satellites may also be destroyed by the Terrorist's bombs.
Some notes about Satellites and Space Stations:
1) With their inclusion, the game for the first time becomes strategic, and not just `role-playing simulation', as by careful deployment and timing of launch ing one can gain distinct tactical advantages.
2) They encourage alliances between players, which is the one single factor which makes CE such a "fun" game. Alliances are only temporary and immediate arrangements, and due to this are constantly shifting, unlike other games in which an alliance is binding (such as DUNE) and as such is a commitment which requires careful consideration before reaching agreement.
3) They enhance the two-player game, in which there are no alliances possible.
4) The disadvantage of being unable to acquire a Super Flare if one is an Alien whose advantage is a Lucre-income is now offset because one can convert an economic advantage into a tactical, winning advantage. (The acquisition of resources does not, in itself win the game: the win is dependent on the application and use of those resources.)
5) The recovery of launched satellites and space stations at no additional cost introduces another option for reaching "deals", which is the other "fun" aspect of the game. (A serious player would rather wait out the one-minute time limit and lose three men to the Warp than grant an adversary a base!)
Some notes on rules:
1) After careful consideration, I have found the optimum number of satellites and space stations available to be a factor of the number of players.
2) After play-testing, the launch cost and attack/defense values of 2 Lucre, 2 tokens on 1 planet; and 3 Lucre, 1 token on 5 planets and 2 moons, for satellites and space stations respectively are realistic and work well.
Some comments on satellites and space stations and their effects on other aspects of the game:
1) One can ignore the last point of the Lucre rules, which states that `accrued Lucre can be added to a player's total in a challenge.' This complicates things unnecessarily, and it is more realistic for an economic advantage to be converted into a tactical advantage by strategic and intelligent logistic use before benefits are realized.
2) One can increase the acquisition of Lucre from 1 to 2 Lucre, as with the spending options being: (a) reviving tokens, (b) buying cards, (c) making "deals", and (d) launching satellites and space stations. Lucre now becomes a valuable asset and one must plan, budget and save carefully.
3) Note: Satellites and space stations remain unaffected by the outcome of a challenge and can only be destroyed by Edicts and Moons. The additional Edicts pose a realistic threat to satellites and space stations and they "work" in two different ways: Missile Attack is a logistic operation, and therefore must be played at the start of a challenge. Missiles have limited range and must be targeted. Therefore they are limited to destroying one satellite or space station within the player's own Solar System. Meteorite Storm is a natural phenomenon and therefore can be played at any time (like the "Plague"). However, it is indiscriminate and non-selective, destroying all satellites and space stations within any one Solar System. Thus, a player may have to destroy his own satellites or space stations in order to eliminate a potential threat.
Missile Attack: Destroy any one satellite or space station within your own system. Play at the start of your challenge.
Meteor Storm: Destroy all satellites and space stations within any one system. Play at any time.
Expansion by David Forres