Alternative Game Rules

These are variations - different house rules - on the official game rules. Some provide ways of reducing the 'cheeziness' of overly powerful agendas. Others offer serious changes to gameplay.

If you have suggestions for this page, or comments on how these variations have worked (or not worked) for you in actual game play, please send them to: Grant Neufeld.


Quick Starts

These are ways to speed up the early part of the game, hopefully getting to the more interesting part quicker.

For the "quick starts" that add to the cards in play at the beginning of the game, the starting hand is still 3 cards where each of the cards in the hand must be of a different type - the cards that start in play do not affect the starting hand.

Assistants In Play

Each player starts with their ambassador's assistant already in the inner circle. (Centauri - Vir Cotto; Human - Susan Ivanova; Minbari - Lennier; Narn - Ko'dath).

More Influence

Each player starts with 5 (or 10) influence.

Homeworlds In Play

Each player starts with their homeworld in play.

Starting Agenda

Each player starts with one of the starting agendas (those that can be played without rotating an Inner Circle character) in play. Currently, the starting agendas are (from the Shadows expansion):

Defense Fleets In Play

Each player starts with their Homeworld Fleet in play (Non-Aligned use Rag-Tag Fleet or Brakiri Cruisers). Ignore this fleet for purposes of the "Military Buildup" agenda (so that agenda can still be used to bring out a fleet).

Deck In Hand

The deck is your starting hand.

All players have exactly 45 cards in their deck (you can try different numbers). There is a maximum 3 of any individual card allowed in a deck (you might also try with just 1).

Any cards referring to the deck (including drawing) have no effect. The discard pile works the same as in normal play.

The rules regarding when you run out of cards in your deck do not apply.

The game is finished when the normal win conditions have been met, or when no one has any cards left in their hand and a turn passes with no conflicts declared (allowing cardless players to still use agenda or war conflicts).

Agenda Restrictions

Limiting Agenda Power

One suggested method is to restrict the total amount of power that can be gained from an agenda to a set limit (somewhere in the range of 4 to 7). (except for major agendas)

Another method is to restrict the total amount of power that can be gained from an agenda based on the number of conflicts the player has won. The agenda may then only provide one (or maybe two power) for each won conflict. You can restrict this even further by having it be only conflicts won while the agenda is in play.

Minimum Influence

Players cannot check for victory unless they have a minimum of influence - perhaps 15 or 20.

'Cheese' Reductions

Limit to one per deck or make unique:

You can alternatively restrict these cards to being played once per player.

More Than 4 Players

[These variants are basically obsolete with the new Opposing Factions deck and rules.]

The June 1998 issue of Scrye magazine (#5.2) features an article by Dave Hewit discussing a couple variants on the standard game which allow for more than 4 players (Page 40).

The first is the "Civil War Variant" which basically has a second player for each faction using one of the "big" character cards as their ambassador (e.g., one that costs 10 influence). This character leads the separate faction of the race (just as you have divisions between religious and warrior cast in the Minbari, Sheridan's forces and Clark's/Psi-Corp's in the Earthers, etc.).

The second is the "Multi-Race Variant" where multiple players may play the same factions (which can get kind of weird). Non-multiple cards are kept to just one in play per-player playing the relevant faction. You'll have to read the article for advice on handling some of the convoluted stuff that comes out of this variant (and for further details on the first variant, too).

Diplomatic Pouch

Players may have a "Diplomatic Pouch" (sometimes called a "Diplomatic Bag") of at most 15 (or maybe 20) cards. The pouch is kept separate from the player's deck. There must be no more than 3 of any individual card between the deck and the pouch. (The limitation of 3 of each card per deck extends to include the pouch.)

Possible methods for getting the cards during the game: (you may decide to allow some combination of these, or only one)

The diplomatic pouch is really intended to be used to include possible counter measure cards for certain strategies (E.g., "Babylon 5 Unrest" to challenge "Alliance of Races"), that players generally don't want to have filling up their main deck.


Rather than the normal maximum of 3 per card in the deck, play with a maximum of 1 of each card per deck.

The name of this variation comes from the "Highlander" CCG which has the 1-per restriction.

This website is cardware - if you find it useful, you are encouraged to send me a non-common booster card(s) from the game. (email Grant Neufeld for current address)

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