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Argent: The Consortium» Forums » Variants

Subject: Voter/Mark overhaul variant rss

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Alex Munger
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I’ve played Argent a few times, and while I generally enjoy what this game has to offer, I simply am unable to be satisfied by the default game-end scoring. The voting itself has good tension, but I despise having to spend actions during the game to mark candidates to determine their scoring criteria when anyone else is just as completely capable of winning their vote by using their actions to amass more stuff. Certainly, you can observe other’s actions and guess at their marks’ criteria, but if even one player is playing suboptimal or irrationally, that simply becomes an exercise of an uncertainty, and I don't enjoy trying to track that much information anyway. I also dislike that there is not a tangible benefit for placing marks besides some information who’s value diminishes if discovered or guessed by other players. Not bad game elements, just ones that don’t sit right with me in a game of this length.

To address these two concerns, I have developed the following variant for Argent:

New setup: Twelve random consortium voter cards are shuffled (including the two default voters) and evenly distributed secretly to the players as ‘arranged supporters’ who only vote for their assigned player if they meet the criteria, but will vote for no one else. At the end of the game, players reveal their supporters and determine if they have met their requirements and gain their votes. Most completed votes wins, with ties going to highest influence.

What about marks? With the above variant, marks become moot and serve no purpose, but many game elements still reference them, so they are to be altered as such: Marks, when acquired (including the ones at game start) represent ‘favors’ asked of campus faculty and are held by the players until they are redeemed. Upon redemption, performed as a fast action, marks are converted into any other non-unique resource (3 gold, 3 mana, 1 wisdom, 1 knowledge, 1 research) immediately, and the mark discarded. Marks may also become unique resources (supporters or items from the top of their draw decks), but must be converted immediately when acquired. Simply put, a character or item can be freely drawn off the top of their deck when you would get a mark, or you can save it (the mark) to redeem as gold, mana, research, wisdom, or intelligence later as a fast action, or for scoring, if your supporter demands marks.

Give this variant a try if you have been having similar frustrations with those aspects of the game, and let me know what you think.
 
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Dominic Morier
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Beloeil
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neflight86 wrote:
Upon redemption, performed as a fast action, marks are converted into any other non-unique resource (3 gold, 3 mana, 1 wisdom, 1 knowledge, 1 research) immediately, and the mark discarded.

This variant seems very interresting but I believe that having the same amount of Gold than Mana for 1 Mark is not right. In most of the rooms, when you have a choice between Gold or Mana, Gold is twice the Mana.
If I was playing this variant, the exchange rate for 1 Mark would be : 2 Mana, 4 Gold, 1 Wisdom, 1 Intelligence, 1 Research, 1 IP or 1 Buy.
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Marquis DeSade
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Which, if any, consortium voters get removed from the pool in your variant? Most influence? The archmage staff one? Most marks?
 
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R. Eric Reuss
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I find the voter changes an intriguing variant, but feel like the Mark changes would diminish the game.

Something with similar voting characteristics but which retains the fundamental character of Marks might be:

* Voters can hold up to 2 Marks from each player.
* If you have 1 Mark on a voter, you may look at them, but can't win their vote.
* If you have 2 Marks on a voter, you can win their vote.
* You start the game with 2 Marks on N facedown voters.

You'd need to figure an appropriate number of voters (as well as how to handle Most Influence/Most Supporters).

Marks are likely a bit weaker than in the standard game; if they prove so much weaker that they're never worthwhile, then you could compensate either by treating the "Mark" symbol as "Place a Mark and gain 1 Influence", or by always including "Most Marks" as a universal voter.

One difficulty: you can easily run out of Mark pieces, so you'd need to use a separate piece for "2nd Mark".
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Trey Chambers
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The voters aren't really balanced for a game like this. Some of them would be trivially easy to complete if you were the only one competing for them.

For example, if you alone have the most mana voter, it's really easy to horde a little mana while everyone else is spending it. They have no incentive to horde any of it, but you do. You could easily win the vote just by getting a lot in the last round with your actions or just not casting any spells the last round.

Same for Influence, once folks have two or three Badges they will stop pumping Influence, so it will be trivial just to get a little more than everyone else.

But if you had the 2nd Most Influence Voter, you have the added difficulty of trying to wedge yourself perfectly between 1st and the rest of the pack.

Then there are voters like the Intelligence voter. Intelligence is not super easy to come by and everyone needs it. You'll probably end up fighting for it even though it's only a vote for you.

All in all, the game just isn't really balanced for something like this and likely would still not feel right to you, but for very different reasons.

My suggestion? Try out the scenarios in the expansion until you find one that fits. Many of these change the way the voters work, including one that makes Argent more like a traditional victory point game (each vote is worth a number of points).
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Chris May
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While I share your thoughts about the voting, I don't really like this solution. I think it changes the game too much making the marks weak and most games will end up with each player scoring 2-3 votes and influence being even more powerful than it is now.

Maybe you can mark voters that belong to other players and then they would potentially vote for anyone that had marked them.

Edit: ninja by several people. I had not refreshed the page
 
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Chrisgmay wrote:
While I share your thoughts about the voting, I don't really like this solution. I think it changes the game too much making the marks weak and most games will end up with each player scoring 2-3 votes and influence being even more powerful than it is now.

Maybe you can mark voters that belong to other players and then they would potentially vote for anyone that had marked them.

Edit: :ninja: by several people. I had not refreshed the page :)


Oddly enough, I disliked it for the reason that I feel it makes marks phenomenally strong. To be able to cash them as a Fast Action to get whatever resource you're short on? That negates a lot of the placement race that makes Argent tick (other than for the Mark spaces, I suppose).

If those are the rules, regardless of scoring I'd be after marks as much as possible. Given that the scoring is now secret, being able to use the marks to contribute points directly rather than having to scrabble for them on the board doesn't seem right.

I'd be interested to see how it plays out, but I don't see it fixing things. I think I'd be more frustrated by being dealt a bad hand of voters than I am by marking the field poorly.
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Alex Munger
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I didn't consider the triviality of some of the voters if they were made into arranged supporters. I would then try with fully open supporters (instead of arranged supporters), and the marks as described, though changed to pay out 2/4 mana and gold to be in line with the regular game spaces. I would also recommend hiding resources to prevent end game slowdown.

Short version: Regular but open supporters with mark adjustments outlined above.
 
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Trey Chambers
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neflight86 wrote:
I didn't consider the triviality of some of the voters if they were made into arranged supporters. I would then try with fully open supporters (instead of arranged supporters), and the marks as described, though changed to pay out 2/4 mana and gold to be in line with the regular game spaces. I would also recommend hiding resources to prevent end game slowdown.

Short version: Regular but open supporters with mark adjustments outlined above.


That might work. If you try it out, let us know how it goes. I expect it to be a really contentious game with all that open info. And probably a bit AP heavy. Recommend with 2 or 3 players for the first run.
 
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