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Concordia: Salsa» Forums » Variants

Subject: milestones rss

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Georg D.
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the reason behind this variant

Although I love the idea of the forum tiles I've never been a huge fan of the actual implementation. Basically I see two problems with it:
a) They add ressources to the game without removing them elsewhere.
b) They reward suboptimal play and bad planning.

Let me explain what I mean with b). In my personal opinion a good part of what makes this game so great is that you have to plan ahead your moves. Part of it is (in my opinion) that you try to make good use out of your cards before refreshing them. It is not unusual to have 1 or 2 cards left in your hand when playing the tribune. It can be a good move in a certain situation to play the tribune with more cards left in your hand. But if you regularly play the tribune with half of your cards still unplayed it makes the impression to me that you misplanned something. In the coregame you get penalised for that by getting less money for the tribune. But with salsa you get a boon in form of a forum tile every time you play the tribune. This encourages a playstyle where you don't care for optimizing your hand but play with not much of a plan because whenever you want you can play the tribune and get a reward for it. For me that takes away some fun of the game.

Although I have some ideas for problem a), in this thread I want to discuss a possible solution for b). (if you don't share my opinion that it is a negative you obviously are not the target of this variant.)

Be aware that I haven't playtested this variant yet and I don't know when I will have time for it. But I have these ideas in my head and love discussing such stuff with others so I would be glad if you share your opinion with me. (In addition it is perhaps easier to convince my gamegrup to give it a try if they know that is more than spontaneous idea.)


the basic idea of this variant

My basic idea is that you don't get a forum tile for playing a tribune any more. Instead I want to introduce a set of milestones you can reach and for which you get a forumtile. My suggestion is that each game you draw randomly 5(?) milestones for this game. Each player places one of his houses on each milestone. Whenever he fulfills the condition of one milestone he may remove his house from the according milestone and take a forum tile from the offer. (If he has no house on the milestone any more he doesn't get a reward.)

So you can score each milestone only once. Of course you can always remove a house from a milestone without getting a reward if you need it - to end the game with houses you still have to place all 15 houses on the board.
By drawing a subset of milestones each game gets a slightly different character and you perhaps want to adapt your strategy to the milestones in play.

the actual milestones

I divided the milestones roughly in 3 categories.

category I - game goals: This category contains milestones you want to reach anyway because they maximize your score. Usualy you will get those milestones more towards the end of the game.

category II - just for fun: These are gamegoals that you can trigger during the game. Some of them will indicate that you are playing good and would happen at some time during any game but some you perhaps wouldn't trigger if there wouldn't be a reward for it.

category III - the consolation prize: These are milestones which mostly indicate that you did a suboptimal move. That can be a result of bad planning or a sacrifice to get a certain forum tile. In opposition to the gamerules each such a bad move will be compensated only once during the game so if you trigger it again and again you will get nothing.

If you want to you can make sure that you have at most 2 milestones of each category or you just take what you get. But a game with mostly milestones of category 1 will see very few additional forumtiles during the first 2/3 of the game.


category I
I.1: Saturnus: Having a house in each province
I.2: Mercator: Having a house for each good (except of salt)
I.3: Mars: Having all colonists on the board
I.4: Minerva: Having all cities of one good.
I.5: Jupiter: Having 12 (?) houses in non-brick cities.


category II
II.1: playing tribune as your last card
II.2: Beeing the first one who buys a card from a new 'Age' (except Age 1) [I'm talking about the roman numbers on the back of the cards.]
II.3: Getting 5 goods from a prefect [only possible with 3 cities in one region + praefectus magnus]
II.4: building 4 houses within one turn
II.5: Having a chain of 6 connected cities
II.6: Building houses with 3 different colonists within 1 turn.

The difficulty of this category is to set the numbers. If you want games where the access to forum tiles is as easy as playing a tribune you propably want to lower II.3 to 4 goods. If you want them to be rare and a real milestone you propably want to increase the number in II.4 and II.6 by 1 and in II.5 by 2.

category III
III.1: playing the tribune without buying a colonist
III.2: playing the senator and buying only 1 card.
III.3: playing the praefect where your opponents get together at least X goods (X = number of players; So in a 2 player game your single opponent has to get 2 goods)
III.4: Beeing the 3rd or later player who builds in one city [This is useless in a 2 player game, but perhaps you can use a housrule there that some cities start with a neutral house in it.]


Your opinion

What do you think?
Do you think this variant is a good idea?
Which milestones sound interesting?
Which milestones would you throw away?
Have you own ideas for milestones?
Should I give every miletone a name/catchphrase to identify them by more than a number?
 
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Ben Bateson
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I like this a lot. I have the same problems with the Forum tiles that you do and would definitely have a go if there was a P&P board knocked up.

The category 1 milestones are too strong: these are all things you achieve at least halfway through the game, so you have little use for a forum tile that gives you an in-play benefit. I would weaken these so they are obtainable earlier on.

But, rather than mucking around with houses, why not just put the forum tiles on the milestones?
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Georg D.
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ousgg wrote:
I like this a lot. I have the same problems with the Forum tiles that you do and would definitely have a go if there was a P&P board knocked up.


yeah! I'm not alone...

Quote:

The category 1 milestones are too strong: these are all things you achieve at least halfway through the game, so you have little use for a forum tile that gives you an in-play benefit. I would weaken these so they are obtainable earlier on.


What do you think about:

category I
I.1: Saturnus: Having a house in 8 provinces
I.2: Mercator: Having a house for 3 different goods (except of salt)
I.3: Mars: Having 4 colonists on the board
I.4: Minerva: Having X cities of one good. (X = 4 for brick and corn; X=3 for iron and wine; X=2 for cloth and salt) [it is difficult to set numbers as different maps have different amounts of tiles of each type]
I.5: Jupiter: Having 8 (?) houses in non-brick cities.

I think I don't want to lower the numbers too much - I don't mind if these are milestones for the second half of the game. Others are perhaps better for the earlier phases.

Quote:

But, rather than mucking around with houses, why not just put the forum tiles on the milestones?


I have the following designgoals:
- each milestone can be reached only once per player (therefore the houses to mark this)
- each milestone can be reached by more than one player - I think the bonus is too strong to make it an all or nothing race
- If you get a milestone you should have a choice which milestone is best for your actual situation


I don't want to change the game too much. Each player should get about 3-5 additional forumtiles during the game.
If you want to increase the race character for the milestones you can limit the forum offer by the number of players which got the milestone before you
 
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Ben Bateson
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Fluxx wrote:

- each milestone can be reached by more than one player - I think the bonus is too strong to make it an all or nothing race


I disagree with this. Having many forum tiles is only going to add unnecessary complexity to each game turn. Although I don't like the way the Forum tiles are implemented in Salsa, I do think they are reasonably balanced and one person getting a tile when the rest don't is not usually enough to break the game.
 
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Georg D.
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But having the forumtiles without using them is boring too.

The game as published gives you about 3-6 forumtiles (incl. startingtile). (It depends on how often you play the tribun.) Between two new forumtiles are always several turns so that you can get used to your new abilities. In addition some of the forumtiles are one-time only so that it is unlikely that you will end with 6 active tiles.
It is a fun part of the game each time you get a new forumtile to evaluate which of the available forumtiles is the best for you. Do you want a tile with synergies to your existing tile(s) or do you need a tile that covers a weakness of you?

If I stay with my basic approach to use only a subset of 5 milestones per game a limit to 1 player per milestone would result in each player only getting 1-2 additional forumtiles (+1 startingtile) during the game.
In my opinion that is too limiting. You want to use some synergies between your tiles so everyone should get at least 3 tiles during the game (including the starttile).
If you make it a race you have to consider the startplayer advantage. Some of the milestones are easy to get (play senator and buy only one card; play tribune without buying a colonist,...). I think the startplayer has easier access to those milestones than other players - or other players have to sacrifice more to get it before the startplayer gets it.
On the other hand there are milestones which are a bit more difficult to get (getting 5 goods with one prefect; be the first one to buy a card from a new 'age') so not everyone will get all 5 milestones.

I think about the situation where you can reach a milestone and the player to your right grabs it jut before you could. If it were a boring bonus like some coins or some victory points I would say 'that is the game, accept it.' but not getting a cool bonus like a forumtile can become frustrating.
 
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Joel Oakley
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If the goal is to remove the reward for suboptimal planning, a nice simple solution would be to have a draft for forum tiles at the start of each game. I cannot recall exactly how many there are in the game, but you could potentially set up a draft (perhaps from a common pool) where each player ends up with 2 blue tiles and 2 green tiles. Then no further tiles would be gained over the course of the game, removing any reward for suboptimal planning.

As an aside, I personally have thought of the rules as written as giving an incentive to consider using the Tribune earlier than you would normally. Instead of seeing this as a reward for suboptimal planning, I see it as a decision to be made about what balance to strike between getting forum tiles and using the Tribune as infrequently as possible.
 
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