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Gheos» Forums » Variants

Subject: spacing out the epoch tiles rss

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Andrew Stingel
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I've just broken the seal, pressed the tiles and read the rules for Gheos then I started reading reviews. I haven't yet played the game.

After reading several reviews it seems that the most common complaint about this game is the randomly timed appearance of Epoch tiles which can result in a premature ending to the game. I've come up with a possible solution (as yet untested) and I'm interested to hear what experienced players think of it..

For this variant to work landscape tiles will need to be drawn from a bag, not stacked on the table.

The game is set up as per the rules but with six Epoch tiles set aside, then each time a player plays a scoring token they add an Epoch tile to the bag of landscape tiles. This would ensure that Epochs don't appear too early in the game, but would still leave some degree of uncertainty as the chance of drawing an Epoch (and of ending the game) increases each time a player scores, and there would be enough Epochs in the bag to end the game before all players have played their final scoring tokens.

I plan on playing the game this way when I teach it to my family, if it doesn't work out we can always revert to the official rules..
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Giles Pritchard
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I have never really had a problem with the epoch tiles. Sure sometimes they can come out clumped, but it is unlikely and rare - and you have to swing with the punches in the game anyway.

I don't mind the idea of what you're saying, but I don't think adding one Epoch tile is enough. I think you perhaps start the game with 2 in the bag, and add 1 or even 2 for every scoring token played, until the quota for the game has been placed in the bag.

When it comes to it, I will always just play with the written rules though, it is highly unlikely given the tile mix that the epoch tile draw will break the game, and the uncertainty is what makes the scoring tokens, and the building or breaking of an empire tense and crucial. That's just my preference though!

If you try it - let us know how it plays!

Cheers,

Giles.
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Russ Williams
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freelunch wrote:
I've just broken the seal, pressed the tiles and read the rules for Gheos then I started reading reviews. I haven't yet played the game.

...

I plan on playing the game this way when I teach it to my family, if it doesn't work out we can always revert to the official rules..


I'm always surprised when people want to start making up house rules before even trying the standard game a few times. Why try to fix something before you have seen if it even seems broken to you, and before you have experience with it to know if your fix is plausible?
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David desJardins
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russ wrote:
Why try to fix something before you have seen if it even seems broken to you, and before you have experience with it to know if your fix is plausible?


I find there are a lot of games that only get one chance. You take it out and give it a try and it's broken in some obvious way and no one has any appetite for trying it again. Even if it's fixable.

So I'm very sympathetic to the idea that when there is a general consensus that a game is flawed you might try addressing the flaws rather than using up your initial chance at the game just to confirm it. Whether it makes sense to apply that principle here, I'm not sure, but I do think it makes sense in general.
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Gláucio Reis
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caradoc wrote:
I don't mind the idea of what you're saying, but I don't think adding one Epoch tile is enough. I think you perhaps start the game with 2 in the bag, and add 1 or even 2 for every scoring token played, until the quota for the game has been placed in the bag.

I agree with this. By the rules, it sometimes happens that the epoch tiles come out too early, resulting in a premature and unsatisfactory ending. But with the proposed variant, they may not come out often enough, and there is a stronger possibility of most of them being drawn near the end of the game.

However, I also think the random appearance of epoch tiles is one of the game's major problems. Perhaps a better solution would be to divide the other tiles in several stacks and shuffle one epoch tile into each stack, then pile them together. This would make the spacing more regular, but would still allow an occasional pair to be together in the stack.

EDIT: I've just seen that someone else had already come up with my idea in another thread.
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Andrew Stingel
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DaviddesJ wrote:
russ wrote:
Why try to fix something before you have seen if it even seems broken to you, and before you have experience with it to know if your fix is plausible? :)


I find there are a lot of games that only get one chance. You take it out and give it a try and it's broken in some obvious way and no one has any appetite for trying it again. Even if it's fixable.

So I'm very sympathetic to the idea that when there is a general consensus that a game is flawed you might try addressing the flaws rather than using up your initial chance at the game just to confirm it. Whether it makes sense to apply that principle here, I'm not sure, but I do think it makes sense in general.

basically I'd read the manual and since there was nobody around to play with I came here to read more about the game, saw the same criticism in more than one review and a fix occurred to me which I thought I'd share.

I've been playing a lot with kids lately and have found it can be tricky introducing any changes to a game they know, and therefore thought it might be easier to avoid a problem seen by others right from the outset (though this grates with my overriding instinct to always play the game the way the designer intended)

As it turned out I decided we'd play the rules as written, we got done little while ago (a two-player game against my 11yo son) and it was a lot of fun without any tweaking, so I'll probably teach the rest of my family the official rules, ditto if I introduce it to any of the schoolkids I game with each week.

But I do think the tweak I outlined above might be of use to someone bothered by random of Epoch tile emergence.

Thanks to all who responded :)
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Russ Williams
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DaviddesJ wrote:
So I'm very sympathetic to the idea that when there is a general consensus that a game is flawed you might try addressing the flaws rather than using up your initial chance at the game just to confirm it. Whether it makes sense to apply that principle here, I'm not sure, but I do think it makes sense in general.

Yes, I can see that in a case where everyone concerned sees and agrees about a flaw and about an established good solution that seems to be accepted by many/most experienced players.
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Andrew Stingel
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russ wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
So I'm very sympathetic to the idea that when there is a general consensus that a game is flawed you might try addressing the flaws rather than using up your initial chance at the game just to confirm it. Whether it makes sense to apply that principle here, I'm not sure, but I do think it makes sense in general.

Yes, I can see that in a case where everyone concerned sees and agrees about a flaw and about an established good solution that seems to be accepted by many/most experienced players.

and so I was seeking feedback from said experienced players. I think my tweak (which would allow all Epochs to emerge after four scoring counters had been played in a two-player game, still allowing for two-in-a-row to be drawn from the bag earlier in the game) will work at least as well as the other proposed variants here, maybe better. If I ever use it I'll report back :)
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