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Lords of Waterdeep» Forums » Variants

Subject: 4 Players, 3 Agents each rss

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Chris Berger
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So, the first time I played Lords of Waterdeep, I played with 3 players. And I noticed two things - a) Having 3 agents, it was never really possible to do everything you wanted on a turn, b) The Zoroaster came out early and was a really nice building - it got used every turn, and having the possibility to use a spot that someone else already took added a lot to the game IMO. I felt like I almost wouldn't want to play a game with less than 3 actions or without the Zoroaster.

So noticing that in 4 player games, each player starts with only 2 agents per turn, I thought about playing this variant. I didn't bring it up until after we played another game (which ended up being 5p). I wouldn't want to play 5p with 3 agents apiece (aside from the issue of where those agents would go, the game would just take too long), but I think it is possible with 4 players.

Variant
Basically, each player gets 3 Agents at the start, and The Zoroaster starts in play, uncontrolled. There are 10 spots available on the board, excluding Waterdeep Harbor. If someone builds a building on turn 1, then that makes 11 spots, and The Zoraster makes 12. So on turn 1 there would be just barely enough spots for everyone. I like the extra action involved in the game with more agents per player.

It is possible that someone could get screwed out of a placement if no one builds a building, but that just means that it will be in someone's vested interest to build if they're going to be the 2nd or 3rd one into Waterdeep Harbor (or if for some reason only one person plays into the Harbor on turn 1, then player 3 and 4 have to watch out). Similarly, things like the Ambassador and Lieutenant can further crowd the board, but if those things come out, it will just put more pressure on players to build buildings or else fight for that first player marker.

I should also note that I like the Zoroaster as the building to start in play because it alleviates part of the problem with crowding, which is early actions being worth so much more than later actions. I would consider maybe giving players 3 and 4 an additional gold piece (over the amount that the normal rules give), to further correct for that. But I'm not sure it's necessary.

Now, it's still possible for there to be more agents than spots on turn 4 when the additional (sleeper?) agents come out, but because players can see that coming ahead of time there can be some maneuvering for the first player marker or for quests or intrigue cards that let them place a worker on an occupied building (or an un-built building). Basically, yes, someone can get screwed out of an agent placement on turn 4 or 5, but it will be due to poor planning or being outmaneuvered, so they should try not to let that happen.

I think I'm going to try to play this way (if other players are willing) the next time we play with 4. Unfortunately, I don't there's any reasonable way to do it with 5.
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John Middleton
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There are two reasons why the agent count changes with the number of players.

One is that it keeps the game approximately the same length for all numbers of players.

The other is that the number of available spaces on the board remains the same and extra agents could be in a position of having very limited choices as far as placement goes by the end of a round.


That said you variant in interesting but the game is designed to never allow you to perform all the actions you desire.
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Danny O'Donnell
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I think the Zoroaster might be too powerful as an unowned building. The decision of whether it's worth giving the owner their benefit is an big part of deciding whether you want to use a building. Without that, it just becomes a flat-out better action space than the rest of the board.
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Kris Rhodes
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arkayn wrote:
a) Having 3 agents, it was never really possible to do everything you wanted on a turn,


If it were possible to do everything you wanted every turn, you wouldn't really be playing a game, at least not as I conceive of games. Games should be challenging, but here you're suggesting we ought to remove the challenge from this game.
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Chris Berger
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Speusippus wrote:
arkayn wrote:
a) Having 3 agents, it was never really possible to do everything you wanted on a turn,


If it were possible to do everything you wanted every turn, you wouldn't really be playing a game, at least not as I conceive of games. Games should be challenging, but here you're suggesting we ought to remove the challenge from this game.


If you don't like the idea of playing with more agents, that's fine. But your post is part non-sequitur, part just completely wrong.

If there's challenge in a 3p game with 3 agents apiece, how is there no challenge in a 4p game with 3 agents apiece when the board is even tighter? That's just a silly thing to say.
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Chad Miller
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I've played this game with 4+ players more often than with 3- so far. I haven't really had a problem with the number of actions in large-player games. Thinking about it some, I think this is because more Intrigue cards fly around, and because buildings you build are going to be used nearly every turn unless they're just some dumb thing no one wants or there are like 12+ buildings in play. People are shooting themselves in the foot by trying to deprive anyone of owner bonuses so they mostly don't.
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Kris Rhodes
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arkayn wrote:
Speusippus wrote:
arkayn wrote:
a) Having 3 agents, it was never really possible to do everything you wanted on a turn,


If it were possible to do everything you wanted every turn, you wouldn't really be playing a game, at least not as I conceive of games. Games should be challenging, but here you're suggesting we ought to remove the challenge from this game.


If you don't like the idea of playing with more agents, that's fine. But your post is part non-sequitur, part just completely wrong.

If there's challenge in a 3p game with 3 agents apiece, how is there no challenge in a 4p game with 3 agents apiece when the board is even tighter? That's just a silly thing to say.


You listed "never being able to do everything you want in a turn" as one of the bad things that led you to create the variant. I'm arguing it's not a bad thing.
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Chris Berger
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Speusippus wrote:
You listed "never being able to do everything you want in a turn" as one of the bad things that led you to create the variant. I'm arguing it's not a bad thing.


If you could quote where I said that it was a bad thing, I would appreciate it. I certainly don't remember writing it, nor can I find that in the post. I said "having 3 agents, it was never really possible to do everything you wanted on a turn," and then suggested a variant that would allow you to have 3 agents when play 4p. How does that translate into "not being able to do everything on your turn is a bad thing."

What I was getting at was: with 3 agents, you already can't do everything you want. There's no real need to reduce the number of agents for reasons of creating difficult decisions because it's already there. Further, reducing the number of actions you get past the point where you already have difficult decisions to make doesn't necessarily make a better game - it just makes it more frustrating. Otherwise, wouldn't 1 action be ideal? Or 0 actions? Then it would just feel like Agricola.

So, liking the point in a 3 player game where you always feel like you have 1 action too few, I want to replicate that in a 4 player game.
 
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Kris Rhodes
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arkayn wrote:
Speusippus wrote:
You listed "never being able to do everything you want in a turn" as one of the bad things that led you to create the variant. I'm arguing it's not a bad thing.


If you could quote where I said that it was a bad thing, I would appreciate it. I certainly don't remember writing it, nor can I find that in the post. I said "having 3 agents, it was never really possible to do everything you wanted on a turn," and then suggested a variant that would allow you to have 3 agents when play 4p. How does that translate into "not being able to do everything on your turn is a bad thing."
[/quote]



What I was getting at was: with 3 agents, you already can't do everything you want. There's no real need to reduce the number of agents for reasons of creating difficult decisions because it's already there. Further, reducing the number of actions you get past the point where you already have difficult decisions to make doesn't necessarily make a better game - it just makes it more frustrating. Otherwise, wouldn't 1 action be ideal? Or 0 actions? Then it would just feel like Agricola.

So, liking the point in a 3 player game where you always feel like you have 1 action too few, I want to replicate that in a 4 player game.


A clarification was needed, and you provided it. Thanks for that.
 
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Andrew Martin
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I've only played three games...two with 5 players and one with 4.

After all the talk of how well this game scales I was a bit disappointed with how the four player game went. Everyone gets two agents to start with in both the 4 and the 5 player game so the 4 player game felt 'too open'....especially with buildings flowing like water (one player had the 'builder lord'). Now granted you still have to gauge which spots provide the most value but it seemed easier with only four playing.
 
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Chris Berger
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AMartin56 wrote:
After all the talk of how well this game scales I was a bit disappointed with how the four player game went. Everyone gets two agents to start with in both the 4 and the 5 player game so the 4 player game felt 'too open'....especially with buildings flowing like water (one player had the 'builder lord'). Now granted you still have to gauge which spots provide the most value but it seemed easier with only four playing.


It does seem like it could be a bit too open. Here are the agent counts by player count:

(P = Players, SA = Starting Agents, EA = Ending Agents)
P SA EA
2 8 10
3 9 12
4 8 12
5 10 15
4* 12 16
*with my seemingly-universally derided variant


So, it really depends on where the sweet spot is for you. The 4p game starts out very open, compared to the 3 and 5 player games. And even though the ending number of agents is average, the 3p game feels very open at the end. The 5p game felt ideal to me in terms of board spaces being tightly contested, so it seems fairly reasonable to play 4p with one extra space available with 2 more agents to start and 1 more agent in midgame.
 
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Jacob Nushmut
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I think it's a good variant. I don't know if I'd ever try it, just because I'm happy with the default 4 player game and I don't want to make the game any longer, but it sounds like it would work well.
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Seth Jaffee
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Interesting variant, but I think you should also remove the Lord which scores 6vp per Building. I feel like that card is balanced and fair in "normal" circumstances - but if you are able to build extra buildings (via Zoroaster for example, or that Plot Quest which allows you to place on an occupied space) then I think it may be too easy to score too much off of that Lord.

PsychoDan wrote:
I think the Zoroaster might be too powerful as an unowned building. The decision of whether it's worth giving the owner their benefit is an big part of deciding whether you want to use a building. Without that, it just becomes a flat-out better action space than the rest of the board.

Perhaps each opponent should get the 2vp "owner bonus" when a player uses the unowned Zoroaster.
 
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Chris Berger
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sedjtroll wrote:
Interesting variant, but I think you should also remove the Lord which scores 6vp per Building. I feel like that card is balanced and fair in "normal" circumstances - but if you are able to build extra buildings (via Zoroaster for example, or that Plot Quest which allows you to place on an occupied space) then I think it may be too easy to score too much off of that Lord.


Yeah, possibly. Although the Zoroaster is only available once per round, and doesn't allow Larissa to build twice herself.

PsychoDan wrote:
I think the Zoroaster might be too powerful as an unowned building. The decision of whether it's worth giving the owner their benefit is an big part of deciding whether you want to use a building. Without that, it just becomes a flat-out better action space than the rest of the board.


Umm... it's always worth giving the owner 2 points. 2 points is nothing, and I have to assume that the building you want to reuse is going to be worth more than 2 points to you. It's not "flat-out" better because you can only use it to reuse a spot that an opponent took. If the spot you want isn't taken, you can either take it, or hope for someone else to take it and hope no one after them takes the Z.O.A. - but that doesn't make it better than the space you want. Just more fought over.

sedjtroll wrote:
Perhaps each opponent should get the 2vp "owner bonus" when a player uses the unowned Zoroaster.


Maybe every player should get the 2vp... wait, no...
Yeah, actually, that's probably a good fix for what I think isn't a huge problem but might potentially be an issue. Or you just spend 2 vp, would be easier (if you're already at 0, then move everybody else up 2vp).
 
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Seth Jaffee
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arkayn wrote:
sedjtroll wrote:
Interesting variant, but I think you should also remove the Lord which scores 6vp per Building. I feel like that card is balanced and fair in "normal" circumstances - but if you are able to build extra buildings (via Zoroaster for example, or that Plot Quest which allows you to place on an occupied space) then I think it may be too easy to score too much off of that Lord.


Yeah, possibly. Although the Zoroaster is only available once per round, and doesn't allow Larissa to build twice herself.

But it does give Larissa more opportunities to build when she would have been blocked normally - allowing her to build more buildings than she "should" be able to.

Quote:
Yeah, actually, that's probably a good fix for what I think isn't a huge problem but might potentially be an issue. Or you just spend 2 vp, would be easier (if you're already at 0, then move everybody else up 2vp).

Indeed, spending 2vp is much easier. There's nothing stopping people from going negative on the VP track either, so switching when at 0 is not a concern.
 
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Adam Holbrook
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Interesting.

I like what you are getting at here, and I like your approach. Your variant as read does have potential minor issues that you mentioned with the possibility of no one building on the first turn causing someone to potentially lose an action, and also needing to start the game with Zoarstar already in play, which has it's merits and is a clever work around, but may easily cause an early building explosion (which may or may not be desired).

Consider this alternate alternative. Start your 4 player game as normal with 2 workers, but instead of the bump to 3 workers happening in round 5, move it forward to round 3, and then add worker 4 in round 6. This is obviously not as elegant, but may be a smoother scale-up to fit in between the 3 and 5 player game. (extra workers at round 3&7 or 4&7 may also work)

-Cranky
 
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