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Subject: Dr. Houserule, or how I made some minor changes to make my game more fun for me and stopped worrying rss

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Mike Elliott
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Being older, I grew up in the days when there were not nearly as many core hobby games as there are today. I had to play a lot of Monopoly and Risk and basic card games. Monopoly was a particular game where I would often change the rules of the game. We usually added 500 dollars to free parking to make it more interesting to land on the square, and we never played with the rule that if you did not buy a property that you auctioned it off. If we landed on a property and did not want it, it just stayed in the bank pool until someone else landed on it and bought it. It never occurred to me that I had to stick with the printed rules or not play the game.

In Quarriors, we made a number of choices in the final version of the game to make it more of a gateway game for casual players. One of these choices was to limit the buys to 1 per turn instead of 2 or unlimited buys. Another choice was to allow you to cull any dice when you score instead of the previous rule where you only culled the dice that you scored. These choices were made after watching groups of players play both ways and seeing which set of rules made the casual gamers more excited to play the game. If I was going back again after seeing some of the current criticisms, I would make the same decisions.

The reason for this is that Quarriors is a toolbox game. Now I know some of you are thinking, "Mike, that is a total dodge if you are expecting players to house rule the game to compensate for your obvious lack of design skills.", but I do a lot of games this way anyway. When I have to make a choice, I am actually happy if the alternate choice can also still be played since that means some other group might play the game with the modification and be happy with the game, even if they don't like the "standard" rule set.

For Quarriors, if you are unhappy with the culling rule, play that you can only cull the creature you score, and that you have the option of keeping the creature and not scoring it if you feel that is the strategic thing to do. If you score it though, it goes back into the wilds. If you are unhappy with the buy rule, play that you can buy up to 2 dice a turn instead of 1. This makes your buy choices much more diverse. These two changes will make the game much more strategic for players that want a heavier game. We played this particular version for almost a year during development.

Still not satisfied because there are one or two cards you think are weak or overpowered? My group stopped playing the Witch in Dominion because it led to some annoying games when it was just the base set. If you think a Dragon is overpowered, cut it out of the rotation or make it worth 3 glory instead of 4. These particular issues get diluted when expansions come out and the particular card comes up less frequently.

If you don't like the randomness of dice, well, err, um, can't really help you there.

Mike
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I don't mind the rules as they are, and I rarely make houserules if I can afford to. Quarriors is one I really don't feel the need to houserule but I had only one thought. And yea, as a lot of people complain about, it's the culling. I'd honestly rather keep the rule as is instead of culling the creature scored with. I feel that was a good decision. I wonder though if you had playtested instead only culling when a creature gets destroyed. With writing a few solo variants, I know a lot of rules can sound good in theory but in practice not be so good.

PS: I did the same houserules with Monopoly with the added any money you have to pay from a card goes into the middle too blush... totally broke the game.
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Kiren Maelwulf
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I don't feel a need to houserule Quarriors. I am looking forward to future expansions and new mechanics they may introduce.
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Brian Schroth
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Lordnameci wrote:
If you don't like the randomness of dice, well, err, um, can't really help you there.


I was thinking about a house rule where you are given a free re-roll anytime you either:

A: Roll only quiddity symbols
or
B: Roll zero quiddity symbols

That would help mitigate the most annoying form of randomness in the game, like mulligan rules in other games. In fact, you could make it more like a mulligan rule and instead of a single reroll, always allow a full active pool reroll/redraw (minus one die).

Obviously Quarriors will never be a game that isn't heavily based on luck but perhaps something could still be done to reduce the luck.
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Sean Conroy
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I'm dismayed at the number of negative reviews of Quarriors as of late. The game is, and I think this is most important in any game you decide to sit down and play or teach others how to play, FUN TO PLAY. Granted that it doesn't have the strategic depth of Dominion, but it takes that core mechanic and breathes a light-hearted breath into it.

I enjoy house ruling games that seem like they need it. With the monthly D&D session I run, house rules make the game accessible and a lot more light with the crew I game with. Developing house rules for LEGO Heroica was fun to do as it gave the older gamers in the group something to sink their teeth in, while their sons and daughters learned the basics of an RPG with lEGOs.

In short, Quarriors! houseruling makes my head hurt; however, whatever gamers need to do to enjoy their experience with a game, works for me. Quarriors! works just fine for what it is: a deckbuilding clone that lacks in critical depth and replaces it with pure and simple accessible fun.
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Brian Schroth
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M07p43v5 wrote:
In short, Quarriors! houseruling makes my head hurt; however, whatever gamers need to do to enjoy their experience with a game, works for me. Quarriors! works just fine for what it is: a deckbuilding clone that lacks in critical depth and replaces it with pure and simple accessible fun.


Maybe it's fun for you, but for many people, critical depth is what makes games fun.
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Kiren Maelwulf
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BagelManB wrote:
M07p43v5 wrote:
In short, Quarriors! houseruling makes my head hurt; however, whatever gamers need to do to enjoy their experience with a game, works for me. Quarriors! works just fine for what it is: a deckbuilding clone that lacks in critical depth and replaces it with pure and simple accessible fun.


Maybe it's fun for you, but for many people, critical depth is what makes games fun.


Then they should probably play something different. Quarriors has it's own depth in strategic choices and gameplay. If someone wants something much deeper than a game is meant to offer they most likely want a different game.
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Brian Schroth
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Kirenx wrote:
BagelManB wrote:
M07p43v5 wrote:
In short, Quarriors! houseruling makes my head hurt; however, whatever gamers need to do to enjoy their experience with a game, works for me. Quarriors! works just fine for what it is: a deckbuilding clone that lacks in critical depth and replaces it with pure and simple accessible fun.


Maybe it's fun for you, but for many people, critical depth is what makes games fun.


Then they should probably play something different. Quarriors has it's own depth in strategic choices and gameplay. If someone wants something much deeper than a game is meant to offer they most likely want a different game.


And if they want a different game, they should probably give Quarriors a bad review. What do you want, people to say "Well, I don't like this game at all, but other people do, so I give it a 10"? The point of a review is to hear the reviewer's opinion of the game, not his perceptions of other people's opinions.
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Joseph Cochran
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Lordnameci wrote:
Being older, I grew up in the days when there were not nearly as many core hobby games as there are today. I had to play a lot of Monopoly and Risk and basic card games. Monopoly was a particular game where I would often change the rules of the game. We usually added 500 dollars to free parking to make it more interesting to land on the square, and we never played with the rule that if you did not buy a property that you auctioned it off. If we landed on a property and did not want it, it just stayed in the bank pool until someone else landed on it and bought it. It never occurred to me that I had to stick with the printed rules or not play the game.

...

When I have to make a choice, I am actually happy if the alternate choice can also still be played since that means some other group might play the game with the modification and be happy with the game, even if they don't like the "standard" rule set.


Mike,

Thanks for the game (it is a light, fun one) and thanks for this insight. However, I will still call your expectation that players house-rule things a dodge. Yes, in days past people might have modified games to their own tastes, but there are two reasons that I think rules-as-printed are more important than ever.

First, games published today are done so in a larger community. I am, for example, about to head out this very morning to game with a group of people I have never met before. I know some of the games they'll be playing though, and because most people do not have a list of house rules I expect that we'll be able to jump into those games with a minimum of difficulty. The closer games adhere to the rules as printed the easier they are to spread amongst today's global gaming community.

Secondly, there are more games in the market than ever. Is it worth my time as a consumer to have to adapt every new game to be more "fun", remembering all of those house rules for dozens (or hundreds) of games, or will I instead buy a game that has the same sort of interaction of the game that's just Not Quite Right and play this substitute instead? You chose to design games for a living, so obviously you're inclined to tinker and test and make sure rules are balanced and all of that. That is neither the inclination nor the joy of many game players.

All of that said, I'm really glad you posted the alternates you used during play testing: I may in fact try them out with some friends. But given the reasons above I will still be spreading the game to others as written, because I believe that games learned by the rules will propagate further in this age of gaming.
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Mike Elliott
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jsciv wrote:
Lordnameci wrote:
Being older, I grew up in the days when there were not nearly as many core hobby games as there are today. I had to play a lot of Monopoly and Risk and basic card games. Monopoly was a particular game where I would often change the rules of the game. We usually added 500 dollars to free parking to make it more interesting to land on the square, and we never played with the rule that if you did not buy a property that you auctioned it off. If we landed on a property and did not want it, it just stayed in the bank pool until someone else landed on it and bought it. It never occurred to me that I had to stick with the printed rules or not play the game.

...

When I have to make a choice, I am actually happy if the alternate choice can also still be played since that means some other group might play the game with the modification and be happy with the game, even if they don't like the "standard" rule set.


Mike,

Thanks for the game (it is a light, fun one) and thanks for this insight. However, I will still call your expectation that players house-rule things a dodge. Yes, in days past people might have modified games to their own tastes, but there are two reasons that I think rules-as-printed are more important than ever.

First, games published today are done so in a larger community. I am, for example, about to head out this very morning to game with a group of people I have never met before. I know some of the games they'll be playing though, and because most people do not have a list of house rules I expect that we'll be able to jump into those games with a minimum of difficulty. The closer games adhere to the rules as printed the easier they are to spread amongst today's global gaming community.

Secondly, there are more games in the market than ever. Is it worth my time as a consumer to have to adapt every new game to be more "fun", remembering all of those house rules for dozens (or hundreds) of games, or will I instead buy a game that has the same sort of interaction of the game that's just Not Quite Right and play this substitute instead? You chose to design games for a living, so obviously you're inclined to tinker and test and make sure rules are balanced and all of that. That is neither the inclination nor the joy of many game players.

All of that said, I'm really glad you posted the alternates you used during play testing: I may in fact try them out with some friends. But given the reasons above I will still be spreading the game to others as written, because I believe that games learned by the rules will propagate further in this age of gaming.


I was not intending to suggest that all players should migrate to the variant versions. The game as published is the one I would do if I had to do the game again because it is targeted at casual core hobby gamers and not hardcore Through the Ages fans or even hardcore Dominion fans. I would recommend playing the rules as stated with newer players, especially if they are not hardcore gamers since the game does really well with players that rarely play core hobby board games and has mixed results with players that are somewhere in the middle between what I would categorize as casual and hardcore.

My intent was merely to state to the number of people that were not in the particular casual player demographic that might have bought the game thinking it was a heavier game based on some of Eric and my past designs that instead of throwing it against the wall in disgust that they might try the version that we did not think would have more appeal but actually does have more appeal with more serious gamers based on our playtest results. More likely those players will just move on to another game, but I always like to get at least 5 plays out of a game to feel I got full value out of it, so I was providing this as an option for those that had the inclination to explore the game further.

Mike
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K.Y. Wong
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Mike, thanks for a great filler in the "deckbuilding" genre. I like having the choice between a long session of Thunderstone or several short sessions of Quarriors. Thunderstone makes for more sombre gaming whereas games of Quarriors are typified by hoots, laughter and disbelief.

I also enjoy games that are essentially toolboxes e.g. D&D adventure series. Each session utilitizes an adventure with special rules and the bits in the game encourages players to design their own. I see this happening with Thunderstone via the Global Setting cards. Just choose the "scenario" that your group prefers. This concept could also be easily done in Quarriors - just create a set of Quest Settings with each card changing one aspect of the core rules. Players would then have to adjust their overall strategy depending on the Quest Setting drawn. Who knows, a best of 3 with such a feature might even provide certain players with a sense of "critical depth".
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Marc Bennett
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first i have to say i love quarriours as it is. even with the very light gameplay it is loads of fun. however i do tend to enjoy having more decisions in games.

for those reasons i was considering an advanced version of quarrious (not for teaching the game to new players, and always presented as optional or advanced rules)

one of the interesting things is i was toying with the idea of culling creatures you scored, as mike has mentioned was in an earlier design. I am guessing the result of this would be a slightly longer game, and the impact of the dragon would be reduced. both of which are complaints i have heard from people who really enjoy the game.
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Matt Shinners
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Lordnameci wrote:

My intent was merely to state to the number of people that were not in the particular casual player demographic that might have bought the game thinking it was a heavier game based on some of Eric and my past designs that instead of throwing it against the wall in disgust that they might try the version that we did not think would have more appeal but actually does have more appeal with more serious gamers based on our playtest results. More likely those players will just move on to another game, but I always like to get at least 5 plays out of a game to feel I got full value out of it, so I was providing this as an option for those that had the inclination to explore the game further.


Hey Mike,

I was about to post essentially the same thing as Joseph, when I read his post and your own.

Thank you for this response - it addresses exactly what my issues were with your initial post, and I have a lot more respect for it and you now.

While I don't think Quarriors! is for me, I do respect that games should be designed for different demographics, and I'm looking forward to hearing about your next game!
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Eric Foldenauer
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These house rules sound good, and I may try them out. I would much rather have seen them printed in the rule book as advanced or variant rules. Perhaps they can be added in an expansion similar to the solo or coop variants printed in Thunderstone. Having it in print validates the rules so they can justifiably be played/taught to new players. Houserules are best played only with friends who agree to play them (which tends to lead to more tinkering).
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Alexey Babaitsev
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One thing that I don't understand -- was it impossible to include the official advanced rules in the game? Like other games have (Steam for example).

"When you have mastered the basic game, try this advanced set of rules: bla, bla, bla"
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Imploded wrote:
One thing that I don't understand -- was it impossible to include the official advanced rules in the game? Like other games have (Steam for example).

"When you have mastered the basic game, try this advanced set of rules: bla, bla, bla"


It seems to me that these were things they playtested and changed, but due to some people wanting a deeper game, he decided to post them here as a response to that to give people the advanced game. I imagine that this variant and maybe some others may make an appearance in a later expansion.

Being that the designer himself posted them here in response or comments made here, I consider it "official" even though it isn't in the back of my rulebook.

But that's my view...
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Kiren Maelwulf
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Imploded wrote:
One thing that I don't understand -- was it impossible to include the official advanced rules in the game? Like other games have (Steam for example).

"When you have mastered the basic game, try this advanced set of rules: bla, bla, bla"


I'm not sure they are really all that advanced though,just different. I think if they had tried to include sets of rules that would appeal to everyone that might play the rulebook would have been bigger than the game itself.

My understanding from what I have read is that they playtested multiple ways the game could play and picked the gameplay mechanics based on what appealed to the majority and worked best. Essentially now a vocal minority have been calling into question some of those design choices and Mike has simply stated some alternatives that, while not something that may appeal to the majority of gamers that play Quarriors, may satisfy those that wanted a slightly different game.
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Geoff Speare
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It would be wonderful to have these rules show up in an expansion, so that a) not just people who visit this site can experience them, and b) we have a greater chance of using them when playing with people we don't know ("Let's play the advanced variant" wins over "Let's play with some house rules").
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David Hoffman
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Lordnameci wrote:
For Quarriors, if you are unhappy with the culling rule, play that you can only cull the creature you score, and that you have the option of keeping the creature and not scoring it if you feel that is the strategic thing to do. If you score it though, it goes back into the wilds.


This is a great idea and I'm going to suggest adopting this rule into our games.

Lordnameci wrote:
If you are unhappy with the buy rule, play that you can buy up to 2 dice a turn instead of 1. This makes your buy choices much more diverse.


I'm going to float this, as well. Too often I've seen people go with the "buy the most expensive" option when they might have chosen to buy two less expensive dice. More often than not the priciest choice is the most powerful, yes, but it's not always the best option at the time. Being able to pick up two cheaper dice would be a great option to have.

Thank you for providing these tweaks to what has become one of my group's favorite games!
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Larry Welborn
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Interesting. Did allowing more than 1 buy per turn really make it too difficult for the casual gamer?

Regardless, this is a tweak I will have to try out.
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Mike Elliott
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The product took about two years to get to market and I was focused almost the entire time on what could be cut out to keep the cost of goods down and did not really think about including the variant rules at the time. Since the smaller Demons expansion was done basically at the same time as the base game, the variant rules are not in there either.

A similar thing happened with Thunderstone, where I had a set of solo rules early, but they were not printed until the first expansion. I posted the solo rules ahead of the expansion once I realized the huge demand for them. I later put out a coop version in set 4 or 5 and we included a number of other variants in the expansions, plus all the setting cards in Dragonspire, which are essentially all modifications to the basic game engine. Oddly, one of the best variants was done by Richard Launius, who liked the game engine and played around with it a bit.

The variant rules will make it into print at some point. If there is demand for it, I can see if Bryan can post that page from the future rulebook as a PDF download file after Essen is over.

Mike
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Quarriors! » Forums » Variants
Re: Dr. Houserule, or how I made some minor changes to make my game more fun for me and stopped worrying
Completely off topic, any word on an expansion after Rise of the Demons in the works? Or is that far off still/Not planned?
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Eric Foldenauer
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Lordnameci wrote:
The variant rules will make it into print at some point. If there is demand for it, I can see if Bryan can post that page from the future rulebook as a PDF download file after Essen is over.
Cool!
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Lordnameci wrote:
The variant rules will make it into print at some point. If there is demand for it, I can see if Bryan can post that page from the future rulebook as a PDF download file after Essen is over.

Yes please! I'd love to see an "advanced" ruleset available for download, with WizKids' imprimatur.
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Lordnameci wrote:
The product took about two years to get to market and I was focused almost the entire time on what could be cut out to keep the cost of goods down and did not really think about including the variant rules at the time. Since the smaller Demons expansion was done basically at the same time as the base game, the variant rules are not in there either.

A similar thing happened with Thunderstone, where I had a set of solo rules early, but they were not printed until the first expansion. I posted the solo rules ahead of the expansion once I realized the huge demand for them. I later put out a coop version in set 4 or 5 and we included a number of other variants in the expansions, plus all the setting cards in Dragonspire, which are essentially all modifications to the basic game engine. Oddly, one of the best variants was done by Richard Launius, who liked the game engine and played around with it a bit.

The variant rules will make it into print at some point. If there is demand for it, I can see if Bryan can post that page from the future rulebook as a PDF download file after Essen is over.

Mike


I demand you post the variant rules. Glad I could help.
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