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Subject: Decathlon--Centennial Edition rss

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Richard Irving
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Salinas
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Tom McHugh has published new charts and rules for Decathlon in honor of its 100 years as an Olympic event. In addition to including charts for 36 Olympic decathletes, he made some changes to the rules:

- He added Safe, Average and All Out for all of the events giving the players more opportunities to press their luck. In addition he added "Stamina Points" for choosing All Out attempts and as the fatigue penalty for the high jump & pole vault for using 9 or more jumps.
- He changed the 1500 meter run to a format similar to the 400 meter run--5 rolls on the chart, each representing 300m of the race.
- On the sprints and 400m, he added "False Starts". 3 false starts in one event eliminates the competitor. (It should be noted the rule for the real decathlon is 2 false starts.)
- Injuries have been modified. Competitors have 5 injury points and take 1 or 2 injury points when they are injured. Each injury point penalizes the athlete for the rest of the competition. (There is not a rule that says what happens when 6 injury points are accrued--I presume elimination.)

Overall I like the changes: speeding up the slog that was the 1500m, Stamina Points and S/A/AO choices.

The problem is that there are two things I don't like:
- The penalties for injuries: They are often too small, less than in the original game, even if you's taken 5 injury points. Except in the 1500, where they are way, way too large (up to 10 seconds per dice roll, up to 50 seconds!--the penalty in the original it was 10 seconds for the entire race.) The High Jump & Pole Vault have another problem--what happens if someone clears a height and THEN gets injured. The injury rules for then specify reducing the final height by 1 or 2 levels, but the competitor earned their higher level before getting injured. It seems unfair to go back in time and change the past.
- Since there is no penalty using up stamina points (except that a player may run out and can't use any in the later events each day. The reductions in performance are for only injuries which are random events.) A lot of the tension of balancing performance in the high jump and pole vaunt with performance in later events is lost.

With this in mind (and simplifying play), I suggest the following changes:

Injuries: When an injury occurs, players must re-roll on the Safe column for this attempt and all further attempts in this event. (That makes the penalty easy to apply.) Players also must take a number of stamina points equal to the Injury number. Later events are otherwise not affected. (Competitors can get treatment in between events: massaging out cramps, retaping an ankle, rehydrating, etc.) A competitor that takes 3 injuries is eliminated from the competition. (Though, leaving it at the original 2 may be better.)

Stamina Points: The number of stamina points remaining for each day determines how many times a competitor must roll on the Safe column in the 400m and 1500m. The number of the last crossed out box, determines the number of rolls that must be taken on the Safe Column, which must be taken as the first rolls of the event:

Day 1: [0] [0] [1] [2] [3] [4]
Day 2: [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]


If a competitor uses additional stamina points in the 400m or 1500m, further Safe rolls must be made on the next rolls to pay any stamina cost--if there are any rolls remaining. (I suspect competitors will go all out only on the last part of the race, just like real life.)

(I haven't played it enough yet to see if there are enough stamina points using these rules, maybe adding a 7th stamina point for each day is warranted.)

Injury in the 400m and 1500m: If an injury occurs in the 400m that causes a competitor to use more stamina points than he has left, the excess stamina points will be spent on Day 2. If an injury on the 1500m that causes the competitor to use more stamina points than he has left, the competitor is eliminated due to exhaustion. Like any other event, any injury that does not cause elimination, the remaining rolls must be made on the Safe column.

With these changes, I think the Centennial edition is a great improvement of Decathlon.

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Tom McHugh
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Thanks for taking to time to give such a detailed analysis of the new rules. I was hoping to make the game more fun and more strategic and I think most of the new rules do that.

I have to agree with what you said about the injuries. I feel the new rules are better than the injury rules in the original game, but the way things stand at the moment, getting injured isn't as much of a threat as it used to be and I don't know if that's what I was going for. Also, as you said, the threat of making too many high jump/pole vault attempts is lost.

I wanted to make a few clarifications:

1) any athlete who has 6 or more injury points must withdraw from the competition. I thought I had put that in the new rules but I guess I didn't.

2) I think there's a little confusion about how the high jump/pole vault injury penalties work. The penalty does not require an athlete to go "back in time" in attempts. The penalty only applies to attempts made after the injury. For instance, let's say my athlete has already cleared 14' 1" in the pole vault. On the next attempt he is injured, earning 2 injury points. This means that each result from now on will be lowered by one height. So, if on the next attempt I got a result of 15' 1", I would have to treat it as if it were a result of 14' 9". But there is no change in the best height he has already cleared which remains 14' 1".

Also, I'm not clear on your idea for penalizing athletes in the 400M and the 1500M if they have stamina points remaining. Stamina points represent the amount of energy an athlete has to make all-out efforts. So if they have some energy remaining going into the 400M or the 1500M they end up running slower by being forced to use the Safe columns a number of times? Maybe I'm just not understanding that one.

But I really value your input. I consider these new rules to be a work in progress, so any good ideas are always welcome.
 
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Richard Irving
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Quote:

1) any athlete who has 6 or more injury points must withdraw from the competition. I thought I had put that in the new rules but I guess I didn't.


Looked everywhere for it. It's not there.

Quote:
2) I think there's a little confusion about how the high jump/pole vault injury penalties work. The penalty does not require an athlete to go "back in time" in attempts. The penalty only applies to attempts made after the injury. For instance, let's say my athlete has already cleared 14' 1" in the pole vault. On the next attempt he is injured, earning 2 injury points. This means that each result from now on will be lowered by one height. So, if on the next attempt I got a result of 15' 1", I would have to treat it as if it were a result of 14' 9". But there is no change in the best height he has already cleared which remains 14' 1".


Actually, you don't include the effect of injuries in the main rules at all. They are only mentioned on the Injury chart.
The way the high jump/pole vault rule is written: "For HIGH JUMP and POLE VAULT: Any injury listed is an adjustment to the original result."

Maybe that's ambiguous: You seem to have meant "adjust each jump made by 1 or 2 levels" (So to pass a 6'1" bar height with a 1 level penalty, I need 6'2" or better to clear it.) I interpreted the rule as "take final "original result" and then apply the 1 or 2 level penalty."


Quote:
Also, I'm not clear on your idea for penalizing athletes in the 400M and the 1500M if they have stamina points remaining. Stamina points represent the amount of energy an athlete has to make all-out efforts. So if they have some energy remaining going into the 400M or the 1500M they end up running slower by being forced to use the Safe columns a number of times? Maybe I'm just not understanding that one.


Not penalize them if they have any SP remaining. The idea is to penalize the athlete more, the fewer SP they have left--because they already have fatigued themselves:
- If they have no SP left, they can only run/jog at a slow pace. (4 or 5 safe rolls)
- If they have 1 SP left, they can run at a slightly faster pace (3 or 4 safe rolls and 1 average roll).
- 2 SP left, a slightly faster pace still (2 or 3 safe rolls and 2 average rolls).
- Etc.

This brings back the fatigue penalty back into the high stamina events. (Not just with excess high jumps/pole vaults, but also all out attempts.)

Real life reason: Because 400m cannot be run all out for the entire distance (or even the maximum 600m of all out running that is allowed in the 1500m)--Even if you saved your stamina all day. The muscles build up too much lactic acid during the race when running faster, i.e. anaerobic respiration. The athlete is trying to run most of the race at a pace where he can continue aerobic respiration. Also the more fatigue (or alternatively the less stamina you have left), the slower aerobic pace you'd be able to maintain.

Also if you have stamina points left and you decide to go all out, that increases the number of "slow the pace" safe rolls you need to make (unless you have finished the full distance.) This will produce a tendency to spend the last reserves of stamina only on the last part of race, just as in real life.

In the 400m:
- 1 SP left: The first 3 rolls must be safe, then spend last SP to go all out on the final roll. (The next roll--if there were one--would have to be a safe roll (0 SP=4 safe rolls and you've only made 3), but that is not required, since the race is over. )
- 2 SP left: You must start with 2 safe rolls, then if you do the third roll all out. You now only have 1 SP left, so you need a third safe roll. The fourth roll would have to be safe--running all out at too fast a pace has caused a crash!

However, alternatively, you could run 2 safe rolls, then an average roll, and then all out (Again the race is over before you have to pay the additional safe roll. i.e. no penalty) And probably a faster overall time.

3SP or more SP left work similarly.

The 1500m, works the same way, though because an all out attempt costs 3 SP, using it early basically forces next three rolls (if there are that many left) to be at slow pace (i.e safe rolls).

The idea is this encourages the players to realistically save their all out attempt to the final part of the race.

Quote:
But I really value your input. I consider these new rules to be a work in progress, so any good ideas are always welcome.


I hope it helps make for a better game--you have already done a great job and put a great deal of effort into it!
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