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Favor of the Pharaoh» Forums » Variants

Subject: Simultaneous Rolling and other house rules rss

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Andy W
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Hi! I'm a huge fan of FoP, as is everyone in my regular gaming group. I thought I'd share some house rules we play by that, in my opinion, make the game a whole lot more fun.

That's not to say the game wasn't already awesome. This just makes it more so.

-----------SIMULTANEOUS ROLLING-------------
Instead of a "first player" we randomly choose a player to have "priority".

All players roll at the same time. Then they all do whatever scarab actions they care to do and lock whatever dice they want to lock. Then, once everyone has done that, everyone does their second roll for the turn. The process repeats until all players are done with their turn.

Then the priority player selects a card he qualifies for. Then the player to his left selects. And so on around the table.

Priority passes to the left, and the process repeats.

If there is ever a question of who has to lock first, locking technically starts with the priority player and goes around to the left. So, if you are lower priority than someone, you get to see what they lock before you commit to your locks.

We've found this to be extremely exciting. First off, you are constantly engaged in gameplay rather than spending 3/4ths of your time just watching other players. Also, it adds a dimension of strategy because you have to pay attention to what the higher-priority players appear to be going for. They might scarf up the card you're after before it's your turn to pick!

This variant is for advanced players only. Everyone has to fully understand the rules and be unlikely to make a mistake. And of course everyone has to be honest (if you have cheaters in your gaming group this won't work). Because everyone is paying attention to their own rolls, not the details of your actions, blue card usage, etc.

The biggest bonus to this is that it eliminates first player advantage. On the very first turn, no one can be assed-out of a card, because all you can get are tier-3 cards, and there are enough of those for everyone.

-----------STARTING SCARABS-------------
Because we're playing simultaneously, there is no need to dole out scarabs based on turn order. So instead, we give every player one reroll scarab and one +1 scarab. This helps smooth out some of the nasty randomness that can happen in the early rounds.

-----------NO BONUS DICE BASED ON THE QUEEN-------------
When a player gets the Queen, we do not dole out the bonus red die tokens. Because other players are collecting useful cards while you got the queen, there is no need to give them an additional bonus of a die. Before we made this adjustment, we found that the player who nabs the queen pretty much always lost. The +1 die is just too powerful in the endgame under these rules.

-----------FINAL ROLL-OFF-------------
The final roll-off is also simultaneous. But it is adjudicated as per the normal rules. After all rolls are done, whomever took the queen starts with the Pharaoh, then you go around to the left to see if someone beat him, then he has last opportunity to beat whomever, etc.

-----------EDGE CASES-------------
Cards that say "Take another turn after this one" enable you to have your own private turn. They're actually pretty powerful now, especially if you take it when you're in the worst priority position.

If Queen and Royal Death are claimed in the same round, both take effect. But the player who took Queen has the Pharaoh initially. The player who took Royal Death gets the dice advantage as expected.

Cards that let you redo your final roll-off: The simultaneous final roll-off happens, and then (if you choose to activate it) you get to do your own private re-roll-off having seen the results of everyone else's.


We've found these modifications to be extremely fun and we always play with them now. I'd love to hear any feedback people have on them and would be happy to answer any questions.

EDIT: I should be clear - this isn't a menu of unrelated variants. This is a set of rules that is ONE variant. You can't just play with some of these rules.
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Andy W
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Well they functionally got an extra turn more than they would have under the normal rules. Because they all get to claim cards the same turn that the Queen is claimed.

Anyway, we've found through playing about a zillion games that if we passed out the bonus dice the Queen-taker pretty much always lost to someone else.
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Andy W
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I think you didn't read my post thoroughly. It details all the rules for a variant my friends and I invented. I'm sharing it with the community in case others might enjoy it, too.
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BT Carpenter
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Reston
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When I play FoP, much of the tactical decision making of what rolls to go for can be influenced by those who go before me taking certain tiles.

Simultaneous removes some of these tactical decisions and tension points.

 
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Andy W
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I feel like that's addressed in the priority mechanic. So now, you're making tactical decisions on a per-roll basis based on what your opponents are doing. It's pretty exciting. But I take your point.

The main thing we don't like is the long periods of inactivity between turns. Especially in the late game where turns take a few minutes each.

Plus this pretty much eliminates the first-player advantage. We found that, playing by the normal rules, the first player won at least 50% of the time (in four player games). And no, we're not "playing the game wrong". We've played many, many times and tried all sorts of strategies each.

 
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Brian Zollinhofer
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Richmond
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I'm new to the game (just got it yesterday) so I admittedly may not understand everything.

I'm not sure how your house rules change/fix/help the first player issue you mentioned (I haven't experienced it yet). The "priority" person still is the first player... he gets to buy first.

Why is the first player at such an advantage in the normal game, but not in your game? Just confused...

sephalon1 wrote:
The biggest bonus to this is that it eliminates first player advantage. On the very first turn, no one can be assed-out of a card, because all you can get are tier-3 cards, and there are enough of those for everyone.


Thinking through this I just realized the advantage of playing this way. Could this also be implemented in the "regular" rules but rotating the start player when the roll gets back to the start player?
 
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wafflestomper wrote:
sephalon1 wrote:
The biggest bonus to this is that it eliminates first player advantage. On the very first turn, no one can be assed-out of a card, because all you can get are tier-3 cards, and there are enough of those for everyone.


Thinking through this I just realized the advantage of playing this way. Could this also be implemented in the "regular" rules but rotating the start player when the roll gets back to the start player?


Favor of the Pharaoh is a retheme of a previous game called To Court the King. That game does have a rotating first player marker. Because the marker moves in the opposite direction to turn order, you end up with players taking double turns and being able to pull all sorts of shenanigans that way. The "bonus die" coins that are distributed to players before the final roll off are supposed to compensate for first player advantage. They are not perfect, but it my 8 plays of Pharaoh, I find that first person advantage is downed out by luck.
 
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William Wilting
Netherlands
Vught
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byronczimmer wrote:
When I play FoP, much of the tactical decision making of what rolls to go for can be influenced by those who go before me taking certain tiles.

Simultaneous removes some of these tactical decisions and tension points.


I'm concerned about removing those decision making possibilities as well. It may sound like the game is quicker, but if I'm having a useful combination for a particular tile, but not for any other one, then I'm very much depending on this priority mechanism. The dice I rolled aren't supposed to be rolled when "I'm done with my turn". So, if someone else is picking a tile which is the only one I could get with the dice I was about to lock, then my whole turn could be useless. I'm wondering if that couldn't make the game too chaotic to handle. Also, I'm not sure if this doesn't take the speed away that was intended.
 
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