Feedback from Don Woods
Posted on rec.game.board on 060601
Hm, it's an interesting thought. I'm not sure how to combine it with the variant my group uses, in which all the relics are known to be "in play", some of them starting out available at Galactic Base. It might actually fit seamlessly; the "real" relic goes for the list price, and the "ersatz" relics go for $20 more, $40 more, etc. per your variant. The only question is when the ersatz ones become available. Start of the game? Second turn (i.e., one turn after the true relics became available)? It mostly doesn't matter, though, since very few of them can be purchased using just starting cash.
Oh, and the other question that was fuzzy in your rules was how much an ersatz relic can be sold back for? "Half price", but half of what? Half what you paid for it, or half what the real relic costs? (I'd say the latter.) As to the variant itself, my first concern was that it would make it less profitable to go "relic-hunting". I.e., there is a real cost in searching for relics: you have to be willing to pay for additional penalty markers (or get a shield, but even then you pay for the larger penalties), and you sometimes give up a turn of buying/selling in order to pick up a relic. (Sometimes, of course, you weren't going to reach anywhere useful anyway, so picking up the relic is "free".) Letting everyone else piggyback off the efforts of the relic-hunter feels like it could be unbalancing.
On the other hand, you do require that people go to Galactic Base for the ersatz relics, and Base is often not a convenient place to include on one's route. Plus, the ersatz relics cost noticeable amounts of cash, while the originals are free (unless they too are found at Base, using our variant). But I think the main balancing effect of your variant is that the ersatz relics are treated as equipment and therefore occupy half a hold each. That makes it a much harder question whether, say, an ersatz Jump Start or Mulligan Gear is worth picking up. And I like hard questions. :-)
So, thanks for the idea; I may give it try next time I play MoV. -- Don.
p.s.: For my group's variant rules, see http://www.prism-games.com/mov.html
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