The agenda phase in Twilight Imperium 4th edition feels a little "bolted on", and adds a lot of time to an already long game for not that much impact. I'm considering a house rule to remove the agenda phase.
I hope this can happen relatively straight forwardly for two reasons. First, the agenda phase doesn't even happen in the first several rounds of the game, so the round structure already supports this. Second, in a substantial change from 3rd edition, your planets refresh both before and after the agenda phase, so there's no need to budget influence for voting and that the only impacts this phase has on the rest of the game is the effects from agendas and riders.
However, there are other components and abilities that depend on this phase. So far, I have identified the following:
- There are several action cards that interact with agendas (such as riders) that would need to be removed from the deck. This is pretty straight forward.
- There is no longer a time when non-neighbors can trade, which would make the Hacan slightly more powerful. If this turns out to be a problem, it's pretty easy to add this back in (allow cross-galaxy trading as a step during the status phase once Mecatol Rex has been conquered).
- The Xxcha "Quash" ability wouldn't work and would need a replacement.
- The Xxcha "Political Favor" promissory note wouldn't work and would need a replacement.
- The Nekro Virus "Galactic Threat" ability wouldn't work and would need a replacement.
Are there any other parts of the game that need the agenda phase to work, either mechanically or for game balance?
I'm also open to suggestions for how to patch the pieces of the game that currently depend on the agenda phase; in particular, I'd love ideas for how to replace the Nekro Virus "Galactic Threat" ability since that seems important to their pace of technological acquisition.