Rules for Thought #39 – Ex-Patriot costs 0 points on Mercenary ships?

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    Now that the Rules survey has some results (44 responses as of this post), I think it would be a good idea to discuss some various options in detail.  I’ve been thinking of various house rules for specific crew abilities, which I’ll release as separate threads.

    Ex-Patriot only costs 1 extra gold when not on a Mercenary faction ship? (other factions paying them – would function similar to Black Mark but might count against ship’s point cost)

    This would help the Mercenaries slightly and makes it a little more thematic in my opinion.


    Making Ex-Pats cost 1 extra when used on non-Merc ships would work fine, but I doubt it would change things much. Most of the Ex-Pats that do get pulled over to other nations are getting used because that nation doesn’t already have the specific ability (or they do, but need multiples). Because it would almost always cost more points and/or cargo space to use a standard recruiter to do the same, they’d still be saving points on the Ex-Pat, and outside of some very specific setups that extra point is easy to account for by adjusting the other crew on the ship.

    What would be really nice to have for Ex-Pat and Black Mark (plus plenty of other existing and potential abilities) would be a good, clean way to enforce varying costs against the build total, but I honestly don’t know what that would be, short of taking major aspects of the game setup back to the drawing board.

    Mechwarrior had a really great system for Pilots that did this. Each had a base cost, but also had a secondary (typically much higher) cost when used in their preferred ‘Mech, because that would unlock a bonus ability unique to that pilot. Gunslinger (mercenary) Pilots went a step further, and in addition to their base and preferred ‘Mech costs they had a few additional costs listed for use with specific factions. Usually that increased the base cost by a few points, but occasionally a specific faction would get a discount, and in a few cases specific factions wouldn’t be allowed to use them at all. I think the varying faction costs were mostly story line based, but might have had a few gameplay concerns built in if the Pilot’s stats would create problematic combos somewhere that a higher cost alone wouldn’t prevent.

    Anyway, on to the point – While that worked great for Mechwarrior, it couldn’t be directly translated over to Pirates because crew are a lot more flexible in where they’re assigned. You can’t shuffle Pilots between ‘Mechs during a game of Mechwarrior, so there’s no way to cheat that point system. Pirates would need extra rules to address that somehow, perhaps by forbidding the transfers of those crew, or by forcing you to use the highest potential cost that could occur in your fleet, even if the particular crew + ship combo wasn’t used. Neither of those are very good options, and I think most other variations on that would introduce problems of their own.

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